Ben Affleck Directing the Arizona Project Based on Reporter Don Bolles
by Alex Billington
December 8, 2008
Back in September we reported that Ben Affleck would be writing and directing a project called The Town based on Chuck Hogan's novel "Prince of Thieves", which would be his follow up to Gone Baby Gone, one of my favorite films of last year. Apparently that's not the case, as the Hollywood Reporter announces today that another project setup at Miramax tentatively called the Arizona Project is most likely his next directing gig. The screenplay for this is being written by Sheldon Turner of The Longest Yard and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, which makes me quite a bit weary. The film will tell the forgotten story of the supposed mob killing of Arizona journalist Don Bolles and the events it subsequently provoked.
In 1976, Bolles was a reporter for the Arizona Republic looking into political corruption and the convergence of New York, Chicago and Detroit mobsters in Phoenix. When lured to a downtown hotel by a source, Bolles was blown up in his car (seen above) and died days later. The group of journalists that Bolles had been trying to organize at the time, Investigative Reporters and Editors, responded to the murder by convening dozens of investigative reporters in Phoenix from 23 different newspapers and launching an unprecedented crusade to finish Bolles' work. Although the result involved 40 articles exposing corruption in the state, many criticized the effort as vigilantism, including former presidential candidate and Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater. Find out more on the incident over on Wikipedia.
Although I don't know much about this story, I really wanted to see Affleck direct The Town as his next project. That film, set in Massachusetts, involved a "high-tension love triangle between a female bank manager, a longtime thief who stole more than her heart and an equally smitten FBI agent trying to bust the crook and his gang before they can pull another big job." Something about this story, set in sunny Arizona and not in snowy Massachusetts, just doesn't feel like a genuine Ben Affleck project. After Gone Baby Gone, I've got high hopes for his follow up, as I've been anxious to see him further his directing career. Hopefully he proves me wrong with the Arizona Project, although honestly I need to hear a lot more about it (including casting) to be convinced.