It’s something of a miracle that the trailer for “Triple Frontier” is here, right in front of your eyes today. Originally a Kathryn Bigelow film, meant to be her big follow-up to the Oscar-winning “The Hurt Locker,” written by her constant collaborator, journalistic-like screenwriter and producer Mark Boal, “Triple Frontier” was a movie that started coming together in late 2010 with Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks and huge stars in the mix for Paramount Pictures. Bigelow’s clout made this an A-list project the script was catnip to talent, everyone wanted a piece of and names like Will Smith and top Hollywood stars were all floated around for months.
Cut to almost nine years later by the time this movie comes out, “Triple Frontier” is a very, very different beast and itself one that almost didn’t happen either. Directed by J. C. Chandor (“All Is Lost,” “A Most Violent Year”), “Triple Frontier” is set in the organized crime haven that exists in the border zone between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil (known as the “triple frontier”) and centers on five friends reunite to take down a South American drug lord.
“Triple Frontier” was set to shoot in 2017 and four weeks away from the start of production and Paramount dropped out along with stars Channing Tatum and Tom Hardy. Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, and Mahershala Ali were all cast at the time too (Mark Wahlberg was also amongst the many names once involved in a totally different cast version of the movie that also fell apart). The project was essentially dead and perhaps even damaged good because some of the stars had issues with the script that made Paramount nervous.
Generally, in Hollywood, you don’t recover from that kind of negative publicity about a movie that hasn’t shot yet and it falls into the annals of what if, but now we’re in the age of streaming channels which has totally changed the game. Netflix eventually came to the rescue, came on board and had fewer issues with Chandor’s adventurous script (he’s not exactly a blockbuster filmmaker and tends to be uncompromising).
“Triple Frontier” now stars Ben Affleck (the only original actor to return, plus the four buddies in the movie Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, Pedro Pascal, and Oscar Isaac. Adria Arjona also stars. Few other details have ever been delivered about the films, but it is said that one of the conflicts of the film are internal as loyalties are tested when these friends—presumably some kind of military operatives, vets or mercenaries—try and take down a cartel which unleashes a chain of unintended consequences. Yesterday’s teaser surely teased a story of greed and the potential backfiring of those ramifications.
— The Playlist ???? (@ThePlaylist) December 9, 2018
All this time later, Charles Roven (“Suicide Squad,” “The Dark Knight”) is still the producer and Chandor has done enough rewrites to have earned a co-writing credit with Boal. One of the most anticipated films of 2019? You bet. “Triple Frontier” is not dated yet, but Netflix will be teasing that release soon. Watch the trailer.