EXCLUSIVE: After earning some of the best reviews of his acting career for The Way Back, Ben Affleck is ready to make his return behind the camera, and he looks to have zeroed in on his next directing job. We are hearing that Affleck has signed on to direct The Big Goodbye for Paramount, an adaptation of the Sam Wasson book The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood..
Affleck also would write the script. SNL’s Lorne Michaels pursued the rights to the book and brought it to the studio and will produce along with Affleck.
The non-fiction book tells the behind-the-scenes story of the 1974 film noir classic starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. From Roman Polanski’s directing and Robert Towne’s Oscar-winning script to the twist ending that shook filmgoers to their core, Chinatown joined the long list of films to make their mark during the 1970s. Looming over the story of the classic movie is the imminent eclipse of the ’70s filmmaker-friendly studios as they gave way to the corporate Hollywood we know today.
The story is very dear to hearts of the Paramount community as it was one of the great deals made by studio head Robert Evans. He died in October but truly made his mark and not only helped turn Paramount into a juggernaut with films like Chinatown and The Godfather but helped redefine how a studio ran in the ’70s.
Affleck’s love of film history is what drew him to the project, along with the nostalgic tone the story brings. It’s unknown whether Affleck also would act in the project, but the script is sure to attract A-list talent from all over town. Between Evans and Dunaway to the great Nicholson, the number of real-life Hollywood legends set to appear in The Big Goodbye surely will attract actors to portray the people they grew up admiring.
The film marks Argo helmer Affleck’s first directing job since 2016’s Live by Night, as he has focused on acting over the past four years. He is coming off the sports drama The Way Back, which again not only earned him critical acclaim but ended up doing big PVOD numbers after COVID-19 pandemic forced Warner Bros. to release it early on-demand.
He next can be seen in the New Regency thriller Deep Water and is set to start filming the Ridley Scott period pic The Last Duel at the end of August. He is repped by WME.