Ben Affleck Makes 'Live By Night' Next Film, Explains Leaving 'Focus'
A few months ago, word came out that Ben Affleck would direct an adaptation of Dennis Lehane's crime novel Live By Night, but it wasn't clear exactly when he would tackle that project. In a recent interview with MTV, which mostly covered the topic of "awards season competitiveness" (conducted before Affleck was unfortunately left out of the Best Director category in this morning's Oscar nominations), the talented writer/director/actor confirmed that Live By Night would indeed by the next movie he directs, and explains that dropping out of another film called Focus was necessary in order to make that happen. More below!
For those that don't recall, Affleck was originally in talks to star in Focus, a romantic conman movie from Crazy, Stupid, Love helmers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. Kristen Stewart signed on as the female lead, and though she's still attached to the movie, here's what Affleck told MTV about why he had to back out:
“Basically I’m doing a movie called Live By Night and I’m trying to meet this schedule in order to do it, in order to meet the back end so that I can have it released at the right time, and I just hadn’t gotten enough writing done and it became clear that if I took that job and was in Buenos Aires for three months, I was gonna miss the deadline. I had to choose between getting the movie out when I want to or doing this one, so reluctantly I chose the [former]. But I love those guys, I love Kristen, I was really excited to work with her, I think the movie’s gonna be fabulous, and I’m sure they’ll find a great guy for it.”
I'm glad to see that Affleck is valuing his writing and directing career more than his acting career at this point, because even though he's a solid actor, it's clear that he's especially gifted behind the camera. It should be noted that he's listed as the sole writer of Live By Night, so it seems that he's left his partner Chris Terrio behind on this one and is venturing off on his own, which might further explain his devotion to this material. Live By Night sounds like an incredibly cool project (Leonardo DiCaprio is producing alongside Affleck), and for those who don't recall what it's about, it follows a Boston police captain's son in the dangerous Prohibition era of the 1920s. Here's a bit of the synopsis from Amazon:
Live by Night is a riveting epic layered with a diverse cast of loyal friends and callous enemies, tough rumrunners and sultry femmes fatales, Bible-quoting evangelists and cruel Klansmen, all battling for survival and their piece of the American dream. At once a sweeping love story and a compelling saga of revenge, it is a spellbinding tour de force of betrayal and redemption, music and murder, that brings fully to life a bygone era when sin was cause for celebration and vice was a national virtue.
It's a shame that Affleck wasn't recognized by the Academy for his work on Argo (though it did get a Best Picture nomination), but he has already won an Oscar (at age 25, no less!) and we're confident that he's just entering the best years of his career. Expect more great things from this Boston boy soon, and we have especially high hopes for Live By Night, which we're expecting will be released sometime in 2014.