Ben Affleck and Matt Damon will team up with Paramount to produce the 1840s-Boston-set undercover police drama The Shadows. The duo’s Pearl Street Films shingle, headed up by president Jennifer Todd, produced last year’s Best Picture nominee Manchester By the Sea as well as Affleck’s own box office bomb Live By Night.
Based on the Boston Globe Magazine article “Into the Shadows” by Matthew Pearl, The Shadows will tell the story of America’s first undercover police detectives, who are dispatched to the dangerous streets of 1840s Boston to deal with a crime wave that coincides with an influx of immigrants to the city. Though the real-life early detectives helped revolutionize police work through their development of undercover techniques, they also found themselves setting more unfortunate precedents by occasionally blurring ethical lines.
THR reports that The Shadows is being set up at Paramount, with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck on-board as producers through their Pearl Street Films banner. Chris Bremner is writing the script based on his own pitch.
Rising screenwriter Bremner saw his Blackfriars script hit the Black List in 2015, and has had the project picked up by Lakeshore Entertainment with The Age of Adaline director Lee Toland Krieger at the helm. Bremner is also working on Bad Boys 3 for Sony (though the film was recently bumped from Sony’s release slate), and is co-writing Houdini with Noah Oppenheim for director Dan Trachtenberg.
￼With its Boston milieu and hard-boiled subject matter, The Shadows sounds like something Damon and Affleck might want to jump into as performers as well as producers. If nothing else, the film would give the actors a chance to develop new 1840s variations on the Boston accents they so famously laid on for their Oscar-winning 1997 breakthrough Good Will Hunting. Damon has already done the Boston cop thing, playing Jack Nicholson’s mole within the police department in Martin Scorsese’s Best Picture winner The Departed. Affleck played the other side of the criminal fence for the Boston-set cops-and-robbers movie The Town, which he also directed (much more effectively than he directed Live By Night, in which he played a Boston-raised gangster on a convoluted mission of revenge in Depression-era Florida).
Affleck’s next directorial job is expected to be an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution being set up at 20th Century Fox. Acting-wise, Affleck will next appear as Batman in Justice League, and is still set to play the Caped Crusader in Matt Reeves’ The Batman (a film Affleck was originally set to direct). Damon stars in a pair of movies coming out this awards season: George Clooney’s crime mystery Suburbicon and Alexander Payne’s sci-fi satire Downsizing.
The Shadows currently does not have a release date. We’ll keep you updated on the latest information.
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