Two-time Oscar winner Ben Affleck may have found his next acting job. The multi-hyphenate is in early talk to star in the thriller The Accountant for Warner Bros., with Gavin O’Connor potentially directing. The film has been in various stages of development ever since the original screenplay written by Bill Dubuque (The Judge) was featured on the 2011 Black List of the best un-produced screenplays in Hollywood. As reported in Variety, it appears the film may have found its footing now that Affleck has expressed interest in the project.
The Accountant centers around a mild-mannered accountant who moonlights as an assassin. The high-concept thriller has been circling the industry for several years with various big names attached, both in front of and behind the camera. At one point it was set up at Sony as a property for Will Smith. Directors as varied as Mel Gibson and the Coen Brothers expressed interest at some point over the years. The film went through the Hollywood development maze, eventually finding itself in turnaround before Warner Bros. grabbed the project.
This comes at an especially busy time for Affleck. Since successfully re-branding his career as an admired director (the zenith occurring when Argo, only his third feature behind the camera, won the Best Picture Oscar in 2012), he has been spending his time both acting and directing, with interesting results. His first film role following Argo was the romantic lead in Terrence Malick’s experimental love story To the Wonder, and while his follow-up in con film Runner Runner was greeted with a shrug, the actor next turned to David Fincher to star in Gone Girl (which opens nationwide this week). The thriller, based on the 2012 best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn, is already earning Affleck the best reviews of his career. Affleck’s schedule remains crowded, as he is currently taking on the role of Bruce Wayne in Zack Synder’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and has also signed on to direct the crime drama Live by Night, which is slated to start shooting next July.
Warner’s top choice to direct is O’Connor. He previously directed the the critically admired 1999 indie Tumbleweeds (which earned Janet McTeer an Oscar nomination), the uplifting 2004 U.S. Olympic hockey team drama Miracle, and the acclaimed 2011 brother vs. brother MMA film Warrior (which earned Nick Nolte an Oscar nod). More recently, O’Connor saved the troubled Natalie Portman western Jane Got a Gun, stepping in to direct the feature after a tempestuous and ultimately litigious feud broke out between the producers and original director Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin.)