Fresh off her turn in the critically acclaimed indie Blindspotting, Janina Gavankar has landed the female lead opposite Ben Affleck in the Warner Bros. drama Torrance, Collider has exclusively learned.
Affleck will play a man struggling with alcohol addiction who attempts to redeem himself by becoming the coach of an inept high school basketball team. Gavankar is nearing a deal to play Affleck’s ex-wife who still cares about him, while Al Madrigal (Night School) will co-star as Affleck’s assistant coach. Collider hears that Michaela Watkins (Casual) has been eyed to play Affleck’s sister, though that remains unconfirmed at this time.
Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) is directing from a script by Brad Ingelsby (Out of the Furnace), and the film was previously known as The Has-Been. Gordon Gray, Jennifer Todd, Ravi Mehta and O’Connor are producing, while Madison Ainley, Mark Ciardi and Ingelsby will serve as executive producers. Production is slated to start later this month.
Gavankar made a strong impression in Blindspotting opposite Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal, and it’s nice to see her rewarded with a plum part opposite an A-list actor in a studio movie. I like the diversity of this cast, and think the project could be a special one for Affleck, whose personal narrative seems to dovetail nicely with that of his character’s. It’s actually rather brave to see Affleck confront his demons by playing an alcoholic at this stage in his recovery, and I’m glad that O’Connor, who worked with him on The Accountant, will be there to supervise Affleck’s return in front of the camera.
Gavankar has starred on HBO’s True Blood, Showtime’s The L Word, NBC’s The Mysteries of Laura, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, the CW’s Arrow, and my personal favorite, FX’s The League, in which she played the almighty Shiva. In addition to Blindspotting, Gavankar starred in a second Sundance movie that sold at the festival — A24’s The Vanishing of Sidney Hall.
Gavankar is a trained musician who is considered the first actress to ever use Twitter (she signed up in 2006) and the last person ever interviewed on G4’s Attack of the Show (in December 2012).