Despite the fact that long-time friends Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have carved largely separate cinematic careers since collaborating on Good Will Hunting (and the odd appearance in Kevin Smith’s work), they’ve always been looking for something else to work on together. Now it would seem there’s a fresh possibility for that joint project, with Damon telling GQ magazine that he and Affleck are working on a film about recently arrested Boston gang boss Whitey Bulger for Warner Bros.
The criminal, who for years was the godfather of the Irish Mob and the leader of South Boston’s Winter Hil Gang, managed to evade capture for 16 years before being caught living this June in Santa Monica by the FBI. He’s wanted for racketeering and has been connected with 19 murders.
According to Damon, the plan is for Affleck to direct and Damon to star, though it’s not clear what the focus of the movie will be just yet: “If it's a straight biopic, we'll do it over a period of time. But it's always a question of what part of the story do you tell, and biopics are always a little cumbersome," Damon tells the magazine. "So do we find another way in? We're still figuring it out." The team working on getting that sorted also includes a man with a little bit of experience writing for mobsters – former Sopranos executive producer (and current Boardwalk Empire boss) Terence Winter.
There’s no word yet on when we can expect to see the film, since Affleck is busy directing Argo (and has been offered Stephen King adaptation The Stand by Warners) and Damon has several films on his schedule, not to mention his own directorial debut co-written with John Krasinski. But they won’t want to sit on it, since theirs isn’t the only Bulger movie being considered. "There are a couple of competing movies and I don't think it's been announced yet that we're doing it," Damon explains. "But the sooner it's announced the better, just because everyone else will back off, hopefully. I'm really excited about it."
Hhhm… Given that one of those developing a script is Departed producer Graham King, who has the life rights to Winter Hill enforcer Jack Martorano, we’re not sure Damon will get his wish.
As for the other project Affleck and Damon were looking at together, real-life baseball wife-swapping drama The Trade? That appears to be sitting in the dugout for now.