EXCLUSIVE: Ben Affleck and David Fincher will reteam on a Warner Bros remake of the classic Hitchcock thriller Strangers On A Train. Gillian Flynn, who adapted her novel Gone Girl for Fincher and Affleck, is in talks to write the script. The film will be produced by Affleck under Pearl Street, the Warner Bros-based banner he runs with Matt Damon. WB’s Jon Berg is overseeing. They are calling it Strangers.
Although the Hitchcock remake — a Warner Bros library title and an adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel — will be its basis, this film will be contemporary and redefined for the times. This one might be best titled Strangers On A Plane, as Affleck will play a variation of the role played by Farley Granger of a tennis pro who is bored with his marriage and wants to get divorced but instead gets entwined with a wealthy socialite psycho who proposes the notion of exchanging murders. The twist here is a compelling one. Affleck will play a movie star in the middle of a campaign for an Oscar during awards season whose private plane breaks down and is given a ride to LA on another plane by a wealthy stranger. In Fincher’s hands, who knows how that goes, but it sure does seem like fertile ground.
The idea of a remake has been kicking around for some time, with Arnold Kopelson at one point attempting it but never getting it off the ground. This is an important get for Warner Bros, and top brass is high on the project: Affleck, Fincher and Flynn’s Gone Girl was a lucrative one for Fox and New Regency, grossing $350 million worldwide on a $60 million budget.
The project will follow the track of an express train, despite Affleck’s busy schedule. He is clearing space to shoot Strangers between directing and starring in the Dennis Lehane novel adaptation Live By Night in the spring and starring in Justice League in 2016. Fincher has his own projects at HBO that will keep him busy in the interim. Affleck will next be seen in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.