Ben Affleck (Gone Girl) is returning to the producing side of Hollywood for Warner Bros. with an upcoming film centered around the recent (and ongoing) FIFA scandal. The film, adapted from Ken Bensinger’s book Houses of Deceit, will focus more specifically on American FIFA official Chuck Blazer, a central figure in the scandal that took the soccer world by storm.
Blazer, who was a FIFA Executive Committee member from 1996 to 2013, confessed to both the FBI and IRS back in 2013 that he had accepted bribes for the bids of both Morocco and South Africa to be World Cup hosts in 1998 and 2010, respectively. A study later determined that Blazer had received roughly $15 million in commissions. Blazer’s confession and time as a confidential informant for both the FBI and IRS ultimately led to the larger FIFA scandal, which resulted in fourteen people being indicted in connection with wire fraud, money laundering, and racketeering. Many of those indicted were high-ranking FIFA officials, and the mounting pressure eventually led to the resignation of FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
Interestingly enough, FIFA funded a film last year titled United Passions, recounting the story of the origins of the soccer governing body. Starring Tim Roth (The Hateful Eight), the film was largely derided and seen as a self-congratulatory effort by FIFA. It even holds the current record as the lowest-grossing film of all time in North America.
The upcoming Affleck-produced FIFA project, however, should swing in an entirely opposite direction. Ben Affleck’s last producing feature, 2012’s Argo, went on to win a Best Picture Oscar and was a financial success. Affleck is producing the picture with his usual partner in crime, Matt Damon (The Martian), through their company Pearl Street Films.
Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) will direct the project, with Anthony Tambakis—O’Connor’s writing partner on Warrior —set to pen the script. O’Connor also recently worked with Affleck in a different capacity for The Accountant, which Affleck starred in.