He may be playing a “tired and weary” Batman in Batman Vs. Superman, but Ben Affleck is staying very busy with his own directing projects. Hot off the Oscar-winning success of Argo, Affleck is still slated to direct the thriller Live by Night for Warner Bros., with a release date still set for 2014.
If those projects – along with co-headlining some little superhero movie – Ben Affleck is now moving into new territory as a director: television.
As reported by Deadline, Affleck will be helming the pilot for a crime drama series titled The Middle Man, which was ordered by Fox. Set in Affleck’s native Boston – like his first two films as a director – the project is shepherded by Affleck’s Pearl Street Films, with Affleck executive producing with pilot writer and eventual showrunner Glenn Gordon Caron (creator of Medium).
As for the premise:
“Described as a classic Boston crime story, it is set in the 1960s and tells the story of Rudy MacAteer, an FBI agent charged with taking down the Italian mafia, and his confidential informant, Irish-American gangster Mickey Flood. MacAteer’s efforts inadvertently give rise to the Irish mob, as he finds himself bending the laws he is governed by.”
This project marks the first TV pilot Affleck has been involved in. He and Matt Damon previously executive produced the filmmaker reality show Project Greenlight and the drama series Push, Nevada. The Middle Man was originally pitched to Pearl Street Films producer Chay Carter by writers Michael Yebba (Ordinary Man) and Emilio Mauro (God Only Knows) during the filming of The Town in 2009.
Affleck was apparently interested, but development was delayed due to his duties directing and starring in Argo. After being introduced to Glenn Gordon Caron via their mutual reps at William Morris Endeavor, Caron wrote a spec pilot which he developed with Yebba and Mauro. Casting will start as soon as possible, and production is said to begin early next year.
From the sound of it, Affleck’s schedule is tightly-packed. There is no word just where in this dance card he’ll be helming this project, but since he’s currently on top of the world (and prudently staying mum about the Batman casting chaos for the time being), all parties involved are likely to give the filmmaker all the room he needs to fulfill his obligations to not just this pilot but Live By Night, but also begin filming Batman vs. Superman in time for its release in July 2015.
The world has seen enough mafia-themed projects – and Affleck’s Pearl Street Films is also behind the upcoming Whitey, about the now-incarcerated Boston mob boss Whitey Bulger (who also inspired Jack Nicholson’s villain in Boston-set The Departed) – but the origin of the Irish mob in Boston is a story that deserves a long-term treatment, and Affleck is definitely in his wheelhouse with this one.
The Middle Man is currently in development, with no premiere date set. Stay tuned for information, as always.