After being in a career cul-de-sac for several years, Ben Affleck is suddenly back in a big-time way. There’s The Town, which he directed and stars in, and which will play the Venice and Toronto film festivals, and which, I’m told, is “better than Gone Baby Gone,” according to a guy who recently saw it. And now, totally out of the friggin’ blue, there’s a just-announced lead in a new Terrence Malick feature in which he’ll costar with Rachel Weisz. Filming will reportedly begin in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, in October.
TheWrap‘s Jeff Sneider has confirmed the Weisz’s casting while Affleck’s reps didn’t return.
The project, says Sneider, “was announced at the Berlin Film Festival, where it was described as a “romantic drama” and a “powerful and moving love story.” (As opposed to what? A weak and not terribly moving one?) Christian Bale, Javier Bardem, Rachel McAdams and Olga Kurylenko were announced as the initial cast members, but it seems that Affleck will be replacing Bale in the picture.
Glen Basner‘s Film Nation is financing the film, and Bill Pohlad will produce.
A day or two ago TulsaWorld.com published a report that Affleck and wife Jennifer Garner “were spotted at a local store buying fishing supplies,” and that Affleck reportedly “told a store employee that he was filming a movie in Bartlesville, and would be playing a fisherman.”
A fisherman in Oklahoma? What, in ponds and lakes around Bartlesville? Sounds kinda boring. “What are you up to, man?” “Oh, I’m just going fishing.” Affleck won’t be playing a Hemingway-like fisherman, that’s for sure. No Marlins or Swordfish. Maybe he’ll play a fisherman who digs up some dinosaur fossils…forget it.
Malick has exhibited a faint tendency to take screenplays he wrote a long time ago and rework them, as he did when he took Q and made it into The Tree of Life. So let’s imagine for a second that the Affleck-Weisz-Bardem-McAdams flick is (a) a reworking of Malick’s The English Speaker or (b) perhaps a new version of Hungry Heart, which itself was a reworking of Robert Dillon‘s Countryman, which Malick wrote for Ned Tanen at Universal in the ’80s as a kind of modern-day Grapes of Wrath.