Ben Affleck is busy developing the screenplay for his upcoming DC Extended Universe installment, The Batman, which is on track to begin production in the spring. But before the cameras start rolling on that comic book movie, the acclaimed filmmaker/actor has another directorial effort coming out. We speak of Live By Night, Affleck's adaptation of Dennis Lehane's Prohibition era crime novel. Affleck stars as Joe Coughlin, a former soldier who returns home from the war to become a gangster in the mob. Warner Bros. is very confident in the project's potential quality, setting it up for an Oscar qualifying run at the end of December before expanding nationwide in January 2017.
The studio kicked off their marketing efforts a couple of weeks ago, releasing the first trailer and poster to start building excitement. Now, with Live By Night's release date fast approaching, WB has unveiled a new theatrical preview. You can watch it above.
Similar in tone to the initial trailer, this one (dubbed the "final" trailer by WB) focuses primarily on Affleck's character, setting him up as an aspiring criminal out to make a name for himself. Though light on plot details, the preview does enough to establish the basic outline of the narrative, as Coughlin and his associates will have to fight their way through any obstacle, including the authorities that may want to bring them in. Over the course of his last few performances, Affleck has demonstrated a strong acting ability, and he seems like a good fit for this role. The Academy Award winner has been successful directing himself in leading parts twice before, so there's no reason to believe that will change now. Joe is being painted at a thief with a heart of gold, which is an archetype Affleck has played in the past.
Another big takeaway from this trailer is that this could be Affleck's best work on a technical level. There's no denying that the film looks gorgeous - a major credit to cinematographer Robert Richardson. The 1920s and 1930s have come roaring back to life here, and the visual style of Live By Night all but warrants a big screen viewing. It has the potential to be Affleck's most ambitous film yet from a story and directorial perspective, and given that he has a great prowess in this genre, he should be up for the challenge. He's already delivered one standout Lehane adaptation in Gone Baby Gone, so Affleck is familiar with the author's voice.
WB obviously has high hopes for the picture, and time will tell if Live By Night turns into the awards player they think it can be. Each of Affleck's previous three efforts behind the camera have been nominated for at least one Oscar, so odds are it will contend in a couple of categories. Even if it comes up short in that regard, it should still be a treat to see when it opens wide in January - a time period that rarely has quality films. In many people's eyes, Affleck is 3/3 as a helmsman, so anticipation is in good supply.
Source: Warner Bros. Pictures
- Live By Night (2016) release date: Dec 25, 2016