While promoting his latest film, The Town, Ben Affleck updated on the progress of The Trade, which tells the story of Yankees pitchers Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekrich, who shocked fans in 1973 with the revelation that they would trade wives. It was suggested that Affleck was attached to direct, and perhaps star as one of the pitchers opposite Matt Damon. The configuration of filmmakers may not be so simple.
Affleck shared that he is currently working on the next draft of the script with brother Casey Affleck, whose only prior screenwriting credit is the 2002 Gus Van Sant film Gerry, in which he starred opposite Damon. The elder Affleck has cemented his chops behind the camera with Gone Baby Gone and The Town, and seems the most natural choice for the director’s chair. Casey Affleck recently made his directorial debut with the Joaquin Phoenix hoaxumentary I’m Still Here, which ups his odds for the gig. But when all is said and done, The Trade may end up being the first of a long line of quality films brought to you by Matt Damon: Director. Hit the jump for Affleck’s precise comments on the matter (including video).
Affleck spoke about the behind-the-scenes posturing to MTV:
“I don’t know how it’ll come together, acting and directing, but Casey and I have decided to write it together. Once the script’s kind of ready, then it’s like: Who’s doing what? What’s the time frame? Matt, me, Casey directing? Particularly for Matt, he’s had this extraordinary career where he’s worked with these great directors. He’s a great director who just hasn’t directed a movie.”
The list of great directors that Damon has worked with — Clint Eastwood, Paul Greengrass, Stephen Soderbergh, Terry Gilliam, Martin Scorsese, Gus Van Sant, the Coen brothers, etc. — is pretty extensive. He seems like a smart kid: he must have picked up a thing or two. You may recall an interview with Steve earlier year this year where Damon discussed his intent to direct:
[Directing] really is something that I hope I can have in my life. It’s such a full life, to be totally engaged and inspired and not be jaded and cynical, but still love telling stories. It’s the pipe dream of a life, really… I’m dying to [direct soon]. I’m really excited about it. But I keep getting these jobs with these directors and I don’t feel like I’m putting off my directing career by going to work with the Coen Brothers. On the contrary, I feel like I’m going to learn so much watching them that I guess I’ll put off directing for another year and watch these guys do it.
I look forward to Damon’s first feature, whether it’s this or something else. And no matter who helms The Trade, when combined with Moneyball, we’ve got a bizarrely intriguing slate of baseball films on the horizon.
Here’s the Affleck interview clip: