It appears that Ben Affleck has finally found his next directorial project. Nearly three years after the disappointing crime drama Live by Night, and in the wake of exiting the director’s chair (and eventually starring role) of The Batman, THR reports that Affleck has signed on to direct and star in Ghost Army for Universal Pictures. The film is based on a true story and draws from the Rick Beyer and Elizabeth Sayles book The Ghost Army of World War II, which chronicles how a squadron of American soldiers used old-fashioned smoke-and-mirrors to save lives. Selected for their creativity and ingenuity, they used blow-up tanks, fake radio transmissions, and noise machines to deceive the German forces, hiding the allies’ true locations and saving countless lives in the process.
Affleck will produce for his Pearl Street Films banner alongside Andrew Lazar, and the project is being set up at Universal. Affleck began his directorial career with 2007’s excellent drama Gone Baby Gone, followed by the tense 2010 crime thriller The Town, which was then followed by 2012’s true-story historical thriller Argo. His third film won the Best Picture Oscar despite Affleck being surprisingly left out of the director’s race, although he won the Director’s Guild of America award that year. His next project, Live by Night, was an overlong, convoluted, and frankly boring effort, but Affleck’s three previous films prove he has the goods, which means he should be able to access them again. So I’m eager to see what he does with a World War II movie.
True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto wrote the most recent draft of the script, so I suppose we can assume a reasonable amount of masculine camaraderie and commiserating. Shazam! writer Henry Gayden wrote an earlier draft.
After debuting as Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Affleck took a starring role in The Accountant and also cast himself as the lead in Live by Night. The less said about Justice League the better. Most recently, Affleck was part of an ensemble in J.C Chandor’s Netflix thriller Triple Frontier, and he co-stars in Mudbound director Dee Rees’s upcoming Netflix drama The Last Thing He Wanted and leads the addiction drama Torrance, directed by his The Accountant helmer Gavin O’Connor.
It’s unclear how soon Ghost Army would go before cameras, but Affleck has certainly shown range in the past and it’ll be interesting to see what kind of cast he assembles here. Stay tuned.