J.C Chandor has been owed a break in bad luck for a little while. The writer-director got his career off to a sterling start: an Oscar nomination for debut “Margin Call,” a Cannes bow and great reviews for the Robert Redford-starring “All Is Lost,” and more stellar notices for the Oscar Isaac/Jessica Chastain team-up “A Most Violent Year.” Chandor had marked himself as one of the most interesting young filmmakers out there, but the last few years have been made up of false starts: he fell off “Deepwater Horizon,” which he was going to direct, and then just a few weeks ago, Paramount scrapped his new project, “Triple Frontier.”
That film has already been around the block a bit: written by “Hurt Locker” Oscar-winner Mark Boal, the action-thriller about drug-running on the border between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil was originally to reteam him with director Kathryn Bigelow, and star the A-list trio of Tom Hanks, Will Smith and Johnny Depp. Chandor revived it, with Tom Hardy, Channing Tatum and recent Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali set to star, but Paramount got cold feet after a regime change at the studio, and reportedly a rewrite that saw Tatum and Hardy fall off.
But now, Deadline reports that Chandor’s caught a break: Netflix are the frontrunners to step in and take over the project, and that if the deal clears, they would offer Ben and Casey Affleck the lead roles in the movie (with Ali still firmly on board). That’s, if not an upgrade, then at least a lateral move in terms of star wattage, and would uniquely pair the recent Best Actor winner with the Best Supporting Actor winner, as well as giving Ben Affleck a reason to look less miserable than he does in the DC movies.
It’s still early days, it seems, and there’s always a chance that things fall apart, or that the Afflecks don’t make a deal (if it works out, it would be the first time the brothers have worked together since ‘Gone Baby Gone,” and the first time they’ve appeared on screen together since, we think, “200 Cigarettes” in 1999) , but this is certainly good news for a project that we’ve always been excited about. And it’s once again, a case of Netflix stepping up where franchise-mad studio bosses fear to tread, and potentially another real get for the streaming giant. We’ll report back as and when this firms up.