New project for Matt and Ben!
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are teaming up to bring the FIFA soccer scandal to the big screen, adapting the upcoming book Houses of Deceit by Buzzfeed reporter Ken Bensinger.
As first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. picked up the rights to Houses of Deceit, which will be produced by Damon and Affleck’s production company, Pearl Street Films. EW has confirmed that Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) is set to direct the film, reteaming with Affleck in their first project since wrapping up The Accountant. Warrior screenwriter Anthony Tambakis is attached to script.
News of the deal ends a studio bidding war for Houses of Deceit, which Bensinger hasn’t even been published yet. Based on a 2014 article by the Pulitzer Prize finalist that delves into the story of former American FIFA executive Chuck Blazer—who in 2013 admitted to accepting millions of dollars in kickbacks and bribes over the course of 20 years—the book has been picked up by Simon & Schuster and is slated for publication sometime in 2017.
Though no casting decisions have been made, Bensinger says he envisions Blazer being portrayed by someone like John Goodman, whom he says would bring “fury and comedy to the role.”
The story of Blazer’s involvement in a high-profile bribery scandal showcased the dark underbelly of soccer, revealing illicit corruption throughout the international body. At one point, Blazer used his position of influence to finance a Trump Tower apartment in Manhattan—just to house his cats. The New York native later cooperated with authorities in an in-depth investigation, and in May of this year, the 70-year-old pleaded guilty to 10 charges including wire fraud, money laundering, racketeering, and income tax evasion.
“I love the con-man story and just love that this is about a very strong sense of good and bad,” Bensinger says. “There’s not a lot of ambiguity about how these people behave. The IRS and FBI, and all these people who sort of did the good work and brought down something that was untouchable, because the power of FIFA internationally is unbelievable. It’s as if you combined the MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL into one organization.”
The first Official Trailer for The Martian is out. It looks great! It’ll be in theaters in November.
Here’s the first promo for The Martian.
Forget trailers: On Sunday, with the help of former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino, Twentieth Century Fox released the first promo for Ridley Scott’s The Martian.
The viral video is hosted by astronaut Mark Whatney (better known in real life as Matt Damon), and introduces viewers to the crew of the Hermes (including characters played by Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan and Michael Pena) as they prepare for their mission to Mars. At the end of the clip, Whatney says goodbye to viewers and family: “Have a wonderful year. Just remember, what we do up there, we’re doing for everyone here on Earth. This is going to be an amazing journey for all of us. We’re all in this together. Mom, dad, I love you. I’ll miss you. First thing we do when we get back is go to Gino’s for some deep dish. All right. Whatney, out.”
Based on Andy Weir’s book, The Martian focuses on what happens to Whatney in the aftermath of the mission launch. He gets stranded on Mars after being presumed dead by his crew, and has to survive in increasingly dangerous elements as he tries to get back home.
“He finds he has a problem, and instead of him collapsing into terror—because he’s got 28 days to live – and that’s if everything goes well for him – he knuckles down and actually starts to work it out,” Scott said to EW last month.
The Martian is out on Nov. 25.
The first images from The Martian have been released:
20th Century Fox has released more The Martian images online after releasing the first few this past weekend. Based on Andy Weir’s self-published 2012 novel of the same name, the movie revolves around an astronaut who finds himself stranded on Mars after he is injured and presumed dead by his team. With limited resources and a finite amount of time before his oxygen runs out, Mark Watney (Matt Damon) must use the power of science to keep himself alive on the red planet.
I’m really hoping that director Ridley Scott breaks his streak of making disappointing movies and just churns out another good one, but this story has a lot of potential. Based on what little we’re seeing so far, it looks good, and I especially like the hodgepodge design of Watney’s spacesuit.
Check out the new The Martian images below, which includes a first look at Kristen Wiig’s character, a NASA spokeswoman. The film opens on November 25th, and also stars Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Jeff Daniels, Sebastian Stan, Kate Mara, Donald Glover, Sean Bean, Mackenzie Davis, and Michael Pena.
The Summer issue of Total Film Magazine features an article on The Martian. Here are scans:
- Magazine & Scans > Total Film – Summer 2015
The cast of the upcoming action flick The Great Wall is shaping up rather nicely, and although it sounds like a historical drama, the film is anything but. Matt Damon has joined the cast alongside Willem Dafoe, Pedro Pascal and a roster of notable Chinese stars in the film from acclaimed director Zhang Yimou and Legendary Pictures, the folks who brought you Godzilla.
According to Variety, Damon is the latest to join the cast of the upcoming film, which also stars Willem Dafoe and Game of Thrones favorite Pedro Pascal. The Great Wall is being helmed by Zhang Yimou, known for his previous films The House of Flying Daggers and The Flowers of War. The trio of English-speaking stars are joined by Chinese actors Andy Lau, Jing Tian, Zhang Hanyu, Eddie Peng, Lu Han, Lin Gengxin, Zheng Kai, Chen Xuedong, Huang Xuan and Wang Junkai.
Henry Cavill and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter star Benjamin Walker were previously in talks to join the film back when The Last Samurai director Ed Zwick was attached.
The film is set in 15th century China and centers on a group of soldiers who stumble upon the famous Great Wall during its construction. It’s not long before the soldiers learn that the wall isn’t just being built to protect the Chinese from invading Mongol warriors, but to protect them from a far more dangerous threat: ancient monsters.
Max Brooks (World War Z) wrote the script for the upcoming film, which is being touted as the biggest production to ever shoot entirely in China. The Great Wall will hit theaters sometime in 2016.
Interesting article from Mental Floss:
On its release in 1997, the film Good Will Hunting proved to be a sizeable hit. It also garnered several Oscar nominations, with the late Robin Williams picking up a Best Supporting Actor gong.
Also taking home Oscar gold for the movie were then-debutant screenwriters Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Their script earned them an Academy Award apiece, but whilst they’d had a lot of interest in their work, it was proving tricky to get someone to properly commit.
Not that there was a lack of interest. Damon and Affleck had several studios involved, and several were making offers to the pair. Yet they opted to go with Miramax, then run – with his brother – by producer Harvey Weinstein.
So why did they choose him over a big studio? Weinstein appeared on The Graham Norton Show in the UK last week, and explained all.
“Everyone in Hollywood wanted Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and the film”, he recalled to Norton. “In the meeting with them, I said ‘I only have one really big note on the script. About page 60, the two leads, both straight men, have a sex scene. What the hell is that?'”
And that was a good question.
For there was method to Affleck and Damon’s madness. “That’s the scene”, they explained to Weinstein, “we wrote to see if guys like you read the script, because every studio executive we went to hadn’t read it. You’re the only guy who brought it up, so you get the movie”.
Good Will Hunting would go on to gross over $200m worldwide, reportedly costing just $10m to make.
Downsizing gets Reese Witherspoon as co-star. Via Variety
Reese Witherspoon has joined Matt Damon in the social satire “Downsizing,” to be directed by Alexander Payne.
Payne wrote the script with Jim Taylor, his partner in Fox-based Ad Hominem Enterprises. Damon joined the project in November.
The story centers on a man in the near future who realizes that he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself at a time when humans are able to do so to battle over-consumption and the depletion of the Earth’s natural resources.
Payne and Taylor won an Oscar for adapted screenplay for “Sideways.” Payne most recently directed “Nebraska.” Payne and Taylor also wrote the Oscar-nominated script for 1999’s “Election,” which starred Witherspoon.
Witherspoon has been nominated for a SAG award and a Golden Globe for “Wild,” which she also produced. She is repped by CAA and Rick Yorn at LBI.
Looks like Matt had to drop out of Manchester-by-the-sea due to schedulling conflicts. Via Collider:
Matt Damon’s busy schedule has forced him to drop out of reteaming with Margaret writer/director Kenneth Lonergan on the drama Manchester-by-the-Sea, but a friendly face will be filling in. Casey Affleck revealed to the Boston Globe (via The Playlist) that he’ll be replacing Damon as the lead in Lonergan’s new film, which revolves around a Boston plumber who is forced to look after his 16-year-old nephew after his brother passes away, but is hindered by a secret tragedy in his past. The You Can Count on Me writer/director Lonergan is an incredibly talented filmmaker, so his next effort is anticipated by many (myself included). No word on when production might begin.
Damon is currently leading Ridley Scott’s sci-fi drama The Martian and is poised to reteam with Paul Greengrass on another Bourne film for release in 2016, so fitting Manchester-by-the-Sea into his schedule ultimately proved impossible.
Universal has also announced that the “Untitled Next Bourne Chapter” will be released on July 29, 2016. Via Collider:
No offense to Aaron Cross and his chems, but if we have to have another Bourne movie, I’m glad it’s with Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass. After years of Damon refusing to do a sequel without Greengrass to the point where Universal threw up their hands and decided to reboot the franchise, the duo is returning. Furthermore, they’re going to be writing the script along with Christopher Rouse, who doesn’t have a writing credit but has edited all of Greengrass’ movies since The Bourne Ultimatum, which is perfect since Greengrass is known for finding the movie in the editing room anyway.
It’s worth noting that this will be the first Bourne movie without the involvement of Tony Gilroy, who is credited with the screenplay for all four Bourne movies, and he also directed The Bourne Legacy. However, in 2011, Damon slammed Gilroy’s Bourne Ultimatum script, telling GQ:
“It’s really the studio’s fault for putting themselves in that position,” Damon tells GQ. “I don’t blame Tony for taking a boatload of money and handing in what he handed in. It’s just that it was unreadable. This is a career-ender. I mean, I could put this thing up on eBay and it would be game over for that dude. It’s terrible. It’s really embarrassing. He was having a go, basically, and he took his money and left.”
Damon quickly apologized, although he didn’t retract his statement regarding the quality of the script. But again, script isn’t so much an afterthought in a Greengrass movie as much as it’s a broad outline, and I’m a little surprised it’s taken this long to officially credit his editor as a co-writer.
As for where this “next Bourne chapter” will take the character, I’m curious but also cautious. The Bourne Ultimatum is such a terrific conclusion to the character’s arc, and it was also a very sharp piece of political commentary regarding the War on Terror. If Greengrass still wants to make a political statement, there’s no shortage of material—spying on Americans; secret torture programs; drone strikes—and it will be interesting to see where a Bourne story fits in at the end of the Obama Administration as opposed to Ultimatum, which came near the end of the Bush Administration.