The 2013 Academy Awards may be over and done with, but that’s not stopping Ben Affleck from keeping busy or eyeing his next potential Oscar-caliber production. With a Best Picture win for Argo under his belt (read our review here), he’s already being courted to direct a screen version of Nathaniel Philbrick’s as-yet-unpublished novel, Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution for Warner Bros and Pearl Street Films.
According to Deadline, WB acquired the rights to adapt Philbrick’s book for Pearl Street – the production studio Affleck founded with longtime collaborator and friend Matt Damon – in a high-six-figure against seven-figure deal. At this time, Bunker Hill is only being treated as a potential directing gig for Affleck; he’s also allegedly going to pass the story on to Chris Terrio, his Argo screenwriter, a move that would fully solidify the film as a high-profile project.
Philbrick has authored several other books already, including Mayflower and the award-winning In the Heart of the Sea, the latter of which tells the real-life story that inspired Moby Dick and is also being turned into a movie later this year by Ron Howard.
Bunker Hill marks Philbrick’s second non-fiction effort to be optioned by movie studios, and will cover the period of time leading up to and following the historical battle of the title, one of the earliest skirmishes in the Revolutionary War and arguably the clash that stoked the fires of the American rebellion. Philbrick’s vision of the events is told through the perspectives of multiple characters, including a young physician named James Warren, as well as more recognizable figures like George Washington and Paul Revere.
Given the setting, it’s no surprise that Affleck has even a cursory interest in Bunker Hill; Boston is his preferred setting for storytelling, after all. In fact, he’s already set to return to his beloved hometown with his next movie, an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Live By Night, which he’ll both direct and star in. Though nothing is set in stone regarding directorial duties on Bunker Hill, it’s possible that he’ll take the reigns for that movie as well – especially if Terrio does end up providing a treatment for its script. With their joint achievements at the Oscars this year, the director/writer team could be keen on repeat success.
The big question is when Affleck will find time to direct the film. He’s officially not directing Justice League, true, but he has both To the Wonder and Runner, Runner on his acting slate for this year- the former hits theaters this April while the latter will arrive Sept. 27th – and he’s got Live By Night on deck. On top of that, he and Damon have talked for the past year or so about shooting a film about infamous Boston gangster Whitey Bulger, and if that comes to fruition, it’s anyone’s guess whether he’ll be able to squeeze a big historical period epic about the Revolutionary War into his life.
We’ll keep you updated on the status of Bunker Hill as news develops.