Ben Affleck Directing the Arizona Project Based on Reporter Don Bolles

December 8, 2008

Don Bolles Car Bomb

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.

Ben Affleck DirectingIn 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.

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Though you might have liked the other project more as a story, The Arizona Project will, with any luck, succeed as both an engaging film and a political and moral statement, something desperately needed in modern Hollywood. I think Affleck made the right decision, and I wish him well.

Tim on Dec 17, 2008


Being a native Phoenician, I hope that they research this case before they blindly go forward with a movie with the states version of this case. I and am convinced that they convicted the wrong man for the murder. Everybody else was given immunity and were exhonerated for the crime. It seems to me that there were alot of political figures that interfered with the justice system in order to protect the true culprits of this crime.

Jonathan on Mar 15, 2009


At the time Don Bolles was murdered by John Harvey Adamson confessed that he was actually hired by Max Dunlap to kill two other men as well. One of those two men was a friend of Don Bolles and fellow investigative reporter, his name was Frank Getscher. Other than the feds investigating this case few even believed that Frank Getscher even existed. Well, that fact of the matter is that Frank Getscher did in fact exist. He was the founder and owner of Southwest Oil & Gas News and a father of four. Sincerely, Glenn F. Getscher

Glenn F. Getscher on Mar 4, 2010

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