In 2007 Ben Affleck burst onto the directorial scene with his emotional crime drama Gone Baby Gone, impressing critics and fans alike with his rather surprising directorial talents. This year he followed up that film with The Town, a very solid crime saga which proved that his first film wasn’t some sort of lucky fluke.
The question now remains if Affleck can turn in three great films in a row and by the sounds of what he has lined up next he just might achieve that goal. Deadline is reporting that Warner Bros. is in early talks with Affleck to direct and possibly star in an adaptation of the 23-year-old novel, Replay.
Written by Ken Grimwood and first published in 1987, Replay tells the story of a journalist who dies at the age of 43 and wakes up in his 18-year-old body, essentially allowing him to re-live his life over and over. “With his original memory intact, he takes the opportunity to travel down roads he passed up the first time around.”
Immediate and very understandable comparisons are going to be drawn to Harold Ramis’ classic comedy-drama Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray (although it should be noted the novel was written BEFORE that film). But instead of it being the repetition of just one day, Replay jumps back 25 years. What’s even more interesting about the story is that the character dies at the exact same age every time. I’m sure it then becomes more about how he can change the lives of others for the better rather than ultimately extending his own.
Replay was first set up as a movie back when it was published, but for whatever reason nothing became of it. Now a script has been turned into WB by Jason Smilovic and it must have impressed because there is reportedly quite a few big name actors interested in the lead role (although no actors other than Affleck have been named yet).
Affleck himself is very interested in both starring in and directing Replay and now that he’s more than proven himself as a director he’s been getting offers left, right and center. Affleck is said to be very interested in directing a film called The Trade, about the 70s wife swap of New York Yankees pitchers Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich. He was also reportedly offered both the Superman reboot, Man of Steel (as we all know that gig ultimately went to Zack Snyder), and Tales from the Gangster Squad but turned both of them down.
Affleck is waiting on rewrites of both Replay and The Trade before he decides which one he’s going to take on as his next film. Replay sounds like the more intriguing story, as far as I’m concerned, one that would challenge Affleck’s talents particularly as a director, considering how different the story and structure is compared to Gone Baby Gone and The Town.
The actor-turned-director has proven himself at handling crime sagas but can he do anything else? I’d really like to see him take on Replay in order to find out.