Movie News

WB Wants Ben Affleck To Direct THE STAND, But Ben Affleck Wants To Direct A Whitey Bulger Biopic!

Published at: Oct. 24, 2011, 1:36 p.m. CST

Beaks here...

Three days after breathlessly reporting that Warner Bros. had chosen Ben Affleck to direct the big-screen adaptation of Stephen King's THE STAND, Deadline's Mike Fleming is now reporting that Ben Affleck has chosen to direct a biopic about notorious Boston mobster Whitey Bulger starring his pal Matt Damon and brutha Casey Affleck. And since Affleck actually went on the record for Fleming's latest article, I'd place my money on the untitled Bulger biopic being the director's next film after the currently-in-production (and potentially awesome) ARGO.

This is not to say Affleck isn't holding out for a bigger payday or budget on THE STAND. I mean, now that he knows he's the studio choice, he does have some leverage. There's no reason to rush into the Bulger film (which will be written by BOARDWALK EMPIRE creator and former SOPRANOS writer Terence Winter), but THE STAND will almost certainly be a huge production and, depending on how they attack the story, could take Affleck off the market for a few years.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out over the coming weeks/months. Unless they're going to seriously rework the last act of THE STAND, I'm much more excited for the Whitey Bulger flick. And even if they do rework THE STAND... honsetly, give me Bulger.

Readers Talkback

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  • Oct. 24, 2011, 1:41 p.m. CST

    So it's THE TOWN via PUBLIC ENEMIES?

    by golden tribw

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 1:43 p.m. CST

    go with bulger affleck shouldnt be anywhere near the stand

    by andrew flynn

    im sorry but the town and gone baby gone, arent godfather and scarface, lets be real here.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 1:50 p.m. CST

    Never read The Stand, but it sounds awesome

    by Billy_D_Williams

  • You fuck.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 1:55 p.m. CST

    Another gangster movie?

    by LordJiggy

    I mean...seriously. How many ways can we look at terrible people being terrible to other people? What could possibly make this have any value, and cover any territory that hasn't been done to death (pardon the expression) by Scorsese (classy movies about trashy people) or Tarantino (trashy movies about even more trashy subjects)?

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 1:56 p.m. CST

    combine it!

    by nolan bautista

    make the Bulger character Randall Flagg..

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 1:57 p.m. CST

    Didn't we already have a Whitey Bulger movie?

    by mullymt

    It was called The Departed.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 2 p.m. CST

    Give him the bulger movie

    by FrodoFraggins

    I don't want him near The Stand

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 2:03 p.m. CST

    Mullymt

    by Lucky13

    Yes, but his boyfriend Matt was in The Departed, and Benny didn't get to be in it. So now he wants to do it too. Like a 2 yr old when he sees another kid playing with his toy.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 2:04 p.m. CST

    The Departed...

    by James

    Nicholson's character was based on Whitey Bulger...I love Matt Damon, but this territory seems to familiar for him now.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 2:15 p.m. CST

    Agreed- re-work the last acts of the books...

    by Judge Briggs

    They are pretty lame and anti-climatic. Truth.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 2:16 p.m. CST

    Edit: The Book* ughh...

    by Judge Briggs

    The Aintitcool.com talkback system probably has the most outdated system on the entire internets.*

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 2:24 p.m. CST

    NO reason to rush into Whitey

    by Bass Ackwards

    Other than the two other Whitey projects in production. Affect either makes this flick now or gets beaten to the punch and never makes it (I'd be fine wit either scenario).

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 2:35 p.m. CST

    Affleck should star in an HP Lovecraft biopic

    by rev_skarekroe

    Go ahead. Compare them and tell me I'm wrong.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 2:45 p.m. CST

    Affleck would knock the Bulger movie out of the park, I don't doubt that.

    by THE_CHOPPAH_STRIKES_BACK

    But I'd really like to see him branch out and try something bigger and more fantastic. Hopefully he'll want to do THE STAND, anyway.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 2:47 p.m. CST

    This article does not give me a bulger.

    by BeanGrud

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 2:49 p.m. CST

    Although I'm a huge King fan.....

    by Orbots Commander

    ....I do admit that the climax of The Stand left much to be desired. It's very literally a deus ex machina that resolves the conflict. It's a jaw droppingly silly way to end an up-to-that-point fine thriller.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 2:50 p.m. CST

    Now when's the Gravity's Rainbow adaptation hitting screens?

    by THE_CHOPPAH_STRIKES_BACK

    Who has the balls to do that one, huh?

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 3 p.m. CST

    Didn't Scorsese Already Do This....

    by Return of the Gebbeth

    ....you know, that little movie that finally won him an Academy Award??

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 3:01 p.m. CST

    NEWS FLASH: Eric Bana to play Elvis

    by Iowa Snot Client

    in Elvis & Nixon. He'll be skinny Elvis; fat Elvis is CGI.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 3:02 p.m. CST

    Who's going to direct The Great and Secret Show?

    by JRcanReid

    Well?

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Whitey Bulger is in my pants bitches

    by proevad

    Although, he needs to be broken out of his cell more often...and if I'm being honest, he's more of a Pinky Bulgerette.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 3:24 p.m. CST

    Pahk da cah in dah Haahvahd yaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhd

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    It's time for Affleck to step away from Boston crime stories and prove he can direct other kinds of projects, and The Stand would have been a perfect opportunity for him to stretch. I really liked his first two films, but I can already see him falling into a rut.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 3:35 p.m. CST

    Do the mob pic, that's more Affleck's speed

    by Bobo_Vision

    The Stand has fail written all over it because it's way too ambitious. It'll be an albatross for whichever director gets harangued into doing it.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 4:05 p.m. CST

    just what we need, another mob movie...

    by sonnyhooper

    .....that humanizes and romanticizes people who are filthy pieces of shit. nice.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 4:05 p.m. CST

    Whitney Bugler will be played by RODNEY DANGERFIELD.

    by Tom

    He will hide out from the cops BY GOING BACK TO COLLEGE! There will be HIJINX and CHICKS in BIKINIS and IMPROMPTU DANCING on cars to SYNTH ROCK!

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 4:10 p.m. CST

    Another outfit is already gearing up a Whitey Bulger flick.

    by impossibledreamers

    It's called Black Mass. Ol' Ben might just end up torpedoing them.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 4:16 p.m. CST

    What the shit is a Whitey Bulger?

    by poop

    Is Spike Lee going off on another racist rant?

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 4:51 p.m. CST

    The Departed

    by Eric Shea

    There already was a Bulger biopic, it was called The Departed. Why on earth would anybody retell the same story after it's been told by a master like Scorsese. There are countless gangsters who have never had their stories told, why keep telling the story of a minor gangster in a small city? Where is the Pablo Escobar movie? He was the most powerful and most brutal gangster who ever lived. He controlled a whole country. I wanted to see a Richard Kuklinski flick, but it seems this isn't going to happen. I guess without the ubiquitous Boston gangster flick, guys like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wouldn't get the chance to play tough guys, but really it's getting old. There are other, much more dangerous cities out there to set stories in, like my hometown Philadelphia. Ever hear of the Philly Black Mafia? I guess not, as Hollywood has never told their story. And maybe, just maybe this time they could give some roles to actors of color, not just Damon, Affleck, and Dicaprio.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 5:24 p.m. CST

    I'm looking forward to ARGO.

    by F-18

    I've read about the rescue operation and it will be interesting to see it on-screen.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 5:32 p.m. CST

    Black Mass

    by IceySpoons

    I read both the book and the script, and neither are very good. Also, I'm pretty surprised that nobody's mentioned how this has already been done to better effect in "The Departed". I mean it's as plain as day, people.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 5:48 p.m. CST

    ebertdatedoprah - there already was an Escobar biopic

    by HonestAbe

    It was called Medellin, and it was crap.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 5:49 p.m. CST

    Remake

    by dancetothebeatofthelivingdead

    Any big screen adaption of The Stand wouldn't be a remake. If done right, it would be a correction, as would any movie based on a King book that was turned into a minseries. Why King fell in love with the miniseries and the completely untalented Mick Garris we'll never know. What we do know is that King books totally deserve big screen talent and budget. Calling a new big screen adaption of the Stand is a fucking insult to movie making. I say Affleck should use the studios interest in him doing the Stand, which is pretty much a guaranteed profit with him behind the camera to get the budget he wants/needs for the Bulger flick. However, The Stand, if done right, would have to be at least two movies and even then it would cut out half the story. The source material is beyond worthy of a trilogy but the public is gonna soon wear thin of being asked to go see three movies and wait five to six years for a conclusion. The whole "to be continued" thing is meant for serials and television. There's no worse feeling than walking out of a movie theater knowing that you're gonna have to wait a few years to see the end of the movie that just finished. I cut my teeth on Star Wars and Back to the Future just like everyone else here but the Stand doesn't have three definitive endings in it like the original Star Wars trilogy did. Instead it will be two cliffhangers and then, finally, a conclusion. Lord of the Rings was three fentastic films with three fantastic endings that left you feeling satisfied and left you with your thirst quenched three different times; the Stand won't do that. It's one of King's top 5 books, and I've read it a couple times. Mostly because of the characters and the breathing room it had. If it's one three hour movie forget it. Go make Whitey's movie. If it's a huge budget and a tent-pole spread out over three films, then Affleck should go for it and make the Bulger movie in between the first two. The first third of the Stand will be minimum budget so if the studio backs it as a huge trilogy based on our generations' most popular author's best book, chances are Affleck has his biggest hit to date on his hands. Ride that wave, get a huge hit and make the Bulger movie on the goodwill a big hit buys with the studio. Jesus Christ I'm ranting. Sorry everybody, lol

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 5:53 p.m. CST

    No fucking edit feature

    by dancetothebeatofthelivingdead

    I meant calling a new big screen adaption of the Stand A REMAKE is a fucking insult to movie making.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 5:58 p.m. CST

    The Departed

    by dancetothebeatofthelivingdead

    The Departed is VERY LOOSELY based on a portion of Bulger's life. The most interesting aspect of Bulger's life wasn't even touched on in The Departed. The Departed was a fictional movie with fictional characters based loosely on the outline of a real persons partial story. It was a remake of an Asian film who's plotline was tweaked a little bit to resemble Whitey.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 6:04 p.m. CST

    One more thing.

    by dancetothebeatofthelivingdead

    I know Affleck has a lot of haters out there for some reason. He was never a bad actor. He either had a bad agent, manager, or he himself couldn't pick a good script to save his life there for a while. As far as acting, he has really come aroun and fulfilled a lot of the promise that was there in his early days. As far as directing, anyone out there that says he is an untalented director is just hating on him for the sake of hating on him or trolling. He's got a great eye and tells a good story. He's got a knack for pulling great performances out of actors and both movies he's directed have been well respected and both of em were pretty fucking good movies. I really don't understand how anyone can watch Gone Baby Gone and The Town and question his abilities as a director with a lot of talent in handling big ensemble casts. He can pull off either project in my opinion with ease.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 6:19 p.m. CST

    Would prefer to see him direct a genre flick first

    by Turingtestee

    I am surprised no one has mentioned The Departed yet.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 6:31 p.m. CST

    Did anyone mention The Departed yet?

    by Bobo_Vision

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 7:02 p.m. CST

    The Departed is not even CLOSE to Bulger biopic...

    by Sardonic

    That's like saying The Godfather is a biopic of Lucky Luciano.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 7:24 p.m. CST

    sardonic

    by dancetothebeatofthelivingdead

    Yeah. one person up top said that and everyone else joined in on that one. You know how that goes, one guy said Departed is based on Bulger and everyone else instead of saying, "I didn't know that," cannot be appear to not know something so they all just join in. Irish gangster in Boston. That's about it for the parallels. Oh yeah, Bulger was a sometime informant too. Did you know that Waterworld is a Jacques Cousteau biopic?

  • Because when he lost his virginity in 1984 that was playing on the radio so now he needs it playing every time like a ritual.

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 8:24 p.m. CST

    No mention of The Departed yet?

    by Nice Marmot

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 8:24 p.m. CST

    No mention of AICN's lack of an edit function yet?

    by Nice Marmot

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 10:13 p.m. CST

    Why not both?

    by KHjLL

    Shoot ARGO now while THE STAND is in pre production and when it's finished jump right into THE STAND...

  • Oct. 24, 2011, 10:18 p.m. CST

    Bulger

    by Jeff

    Enough with "The Stand." I've seen two versions of it already, and it's pretty much been done to death. I could care less whether they make yet another pointless remake of it. But Bulger starring Damon and written by Winter, that could kick some serious ass. I'd much rather see that.

  • Oct. 25, 2011, 12:38 a.m. CST

    Why are people saying The Stand would be a remake?

    by Dreamwriter

    There's never been a movie of "The Stand". There was a single miniseries, which was great, but would be quite different from a trilogy of movies.

  • Oct. 25, 2011, 1:36 a.m. CST

    THE STAND is a more interesting choice for him.

    by blackwood

    This is like those other movies he made.

  • Oct. 25, 2011, 3:40 a.m. CST

    Good, fuck Affleck. John Carpenter's The Stand!!!!

    by Cobb05

    How fucking awesome would that be? The Ward sucked as a movie, but Carpenter showed he still has the chops to make a movie. It had a great look and great camera work. The story was weak, but I don't blame John. He really would be an amazing choice for The Stand. He automatically gives the movie horror credibility, it's a great story and it could be the movie to not only bring John back in a big way, it could be his masterpiece.

  • Oct. 25, 2011, 3:55 a.m. CST

    cobb05: it's never going to happen

    by melonman

    For the same reason they pulled the plug on Romero's version back in the 80s

  • Oct. 25, 2011, 5:34 a.m. CST

    Is Aaron Sorkin gonna do the Steve Nutjobs biopic?

    by SiouxCitySarsaparilla

    Who could play Steve Nutjobs? Probably won't be Ben Affleck. Ed Norton?

  • Oct. 25, 2011, 6:25 a.m. CST

    He won't ever do a genre flick because..

    by ZodNotGod

    He thinks its beneath him.

  • Oct. 25, 2011, 6:29 a.m. CST

    If he were smart...

    by ZodNotGod

    He'd make The Stand....turn out a hit and use the goodwill to make the Bulger flick. Like Spielberg. Make the money makers and then come back and do the ones you want. Don't fuck yourself over "Artistic integrity." Dollars to donuts says he won't do that. He'll hold out for the Bulger flick and it will flop. Way to go, Sean Penn, way to go!

  • Oct. 25, 2011, 6:30 a.m. CST

    cobb05 - Ahem.

    by ZodNotGod

    His third masterpiece.... Halloween The Thing

  • LOL!

  • Oct. 25, 2011, 6:59 a.m. CST

    Keep the last act and have Brian Cox play the hand of God

    by i_got_worms

  • Oct. 25, 2011, 7:43 a.m. CST

    The Departed

    by flax

    Has anyone mentioned it?

  • Oct. 25, 2011, 12:01 p.m. CST

    Affleck is such no talent hack con man

    by chien_sale

    and studios ate his shit up

  • Oct. 25, 2011, 4:21 p.m. CST

    Brian Cox doesn't need to play the Hand of God.

    by THE_CHOPPAH_STRIKES_BACK

    He is the Hand of God.

  • Oct. 25, 2011, 5:23 p.m. CST

    zodnotgod

    by Cobb05

    I meant it had the potential to be better than those movies and possibly be award worthy. Maybe masterpiece was the wrong word.

  • Oct. 25, 2011, 6:13 p.m. CST

    Didn't Brian Cox already play Bulger in The Departed?

    by CountryBoy

  • Oct. 25, 2011, 6:18 p.m. CST

    John Carpenter for The Stand? No thanks

    by Fish Tank

    Loved The Thing, Christine and Big Trouble in Little China... But then he made Ghosts of Mars and Masters of Horror and I decided he has lost it. Just having to remember Ghosts of Mars is depressing me.

  • Oct. 25, 2011, 6:51 p.m. CST

    Does he think he's a gangster?

    by Turingtestee

    Like Guy Ritchie?

  • Oct. 25, 2011, 7:51 p.m. CST

    NO REASON TO RUSH THIS ONE

    by Mullah Omar

    Did they even have a proper script for THE STAND? Or a budget? Tricky to make this story into a 2-3 hour film, and if a script and budget are not even in place, it's better for Affleck to do something else rather than rush his first supposed mega-budget film. It would still be pretty easy to piss away all the Hollywood goodwill he's generated in recent years if THE STAND was anything less than a clear success. I don't fault Affleck for taking his time before jumping into the deep end.

  • Oct. 25, 2011, 10:35 p.m. CST

    Gimme The Bulger Flick

    by THX1968

    Far more interesting than The Stand for so many reasons.

  • Oct. 26, 2011, 12:07 a.m. CST

    Last act of the Stand

    by prunkhaft

    Is fine. No need to have that reworked. Were the project a big screen production of It... I could see some tweaking. The Stand can be brought to cinema pretty much (edited for time) as written. And it was pretty fucking awesome AS WRITTEN. I would enjoy to read what Beaks finds lacking in the book, and how a potential film could remedy it. I really would, and with an open mind. I don't think that follow up is coming though.

  • Oct. 26, 2011, 4:42 p.m. CST

    Gangsters have gotten boring

    by captzeep

    Gangsters have been done to death. The public keeps buing gangster books and going to gangster movies, so I can't blame the business people, but all the interesting stories have been told. There especially isn't anything remotely glamorous about the South Boston gangs- they don't have the old world romance and hig-level connections the Italian mafia has. They were just low-level bullies and scumbags taking advantage of ignorant ghetto whites who didn't have any problem they couldn't blame on outsiders. The Southie mentality is best shown by Michael Patrick McDonald's memoir, "All Souls- A Family Story from Southie." McDonald lays out the insane dysfunction of his family, and the ghetto Irish of Boston, but is completely unable to assign them any responsibility. It's all Ronald Reagan's fault. But it's all in the gangster mentality, of whatever place, time, or ethnicity- create an imaginary "us" and "them" and terrorize people into going along. Unless Affleck is willing to make Bulger the bad guy- like Pete Postlethwaite was in "The Town", a guy who manipulated and abused his own people- this will be really bad.