Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Sometimes, the hottest projects in town aren’t the newest. Warner Bros is in early talks with Ben Affleck to come aboard to direct and possibly star in Replay, a Jason Smilovic-scripted adaptation of a Ken Grimwood novel. The protagonist is a 43-year old radio journalist who dies, wakes up in his 18-year old body, and gets to relive his life over and over. With his original memory intact, he takes the opportunity to travel down roads he passed up the first time around. The book was published in 1989, and Lee Rich first set it up as a movie back then. It languished, and then Smilovic turned out a script that has top leading men circling. The question will be: does Affleck play the lead role himself? He’s age appropriate and co-wrote and directed The Town primarily to give himself the killer lead role of the thief who falls in love with the bank employee during a heist. Rich and Elaine Goldsmith Thomas are producing.

After the strong grosses and acclaim for The Town, Affleck is being offered a lot of stuff to direct. He is still keen on The Trade, the Dave Mandel-scripted film based on the 70s wife swap of New York Yankees pitchers Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich, Affleck is indeed interested in Replay, and in playing that starring role. He just met with Smilovic and Goldsmith Thomas, and gave them a bunch of notes. Smilovic has gone back to do another pass. Affleck won’t decide his next picture until that and The Trade get new drafts. Then he’ll figure out what to do next.

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