Ben Affleck isn’t just visiting the DC Comic Universe as the next Batman, he’s moving in! Affleck and his longtime producing partner Matt Damon have signed on to produce an adaptation of Ed Brubaker’s noir crime-spy-superhero comic Sleeper.
DC may be a little late to the modern superhero movie party (although despite some bad Batman films, it’s hard to say they didn’t win the ’90s), but they seem intent on maintaining the age-old competition between the Marvel and DC Universes, a competition that trickles down into the ranks of the writers and creators. Brubaker has written several comic book series for Marvel Comics, including Criminal and Incognito, but Sleeper, a collaboration between Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips, is a spin off from the multi-layered, convoluted world that is DC Comics. Sleeper was written by Brubaker, but it includes a character named Grifter that was originally created by Jim Lee and Brandon Choi of Image comics. Image was purchased in 1998 by DC Comics.
Sleeper is the story of Holden Carver, also known as The Conductor, who has been fused with an alien artifact that causes him to feel no pain. He is able to store the pain and inflict it on others just by his touch. Jim Lynch, the head of a black ops Internal Organization, recruits Holden and places him undercover in a seedy world of super-criminals run by the crime boss Tao. Holden moves through the ranks as a trustworthy soldier and is promoted to lieutenant (called a Prodigal). He meets and falls in love with another Prodigal – Miss Misery. Miss Misery’s character twist is that she becomes healthier and more beautiful every time she engages in evil. When Jim Lynch gets shot and falls into a coma, Holden is left disconnected. Tao learns of Holden’s true allegiance, sending him to live on the lam with Miss Misery. Tao tracks Holden down and convinces him join his team for real. Because of his love for Miss Misery, Holden agrees and begins his life of super-criminality. When Jim Lynch eventually awakens, it is too late for Holden to return to being good, he’s in too deep.
The feature adaptation has been in the works since 2008 with Sam Raimi supposedly directing and Tom Cruise starring as Holden Carver, but that went south some time ago. With Ben Affleck and Matt Damon stepping in, the film is finally on it’s way to production. Shawn Ryan (The Shield, The Chicago Code) and David Wiener (The Killing) are penning the script.