Movies stuck in development hell fascinate me. I’ve read all of the books published on the most famous cases, keep tabs on current ones, and always enjoy speculating what might become of them. Currently, one of the highest profile films stuck in this situation is Triple Frontier. Once upon a time, Kathryn Bigelow was looking to make this her follow up to The Hurt Locker. Bigelow had a script by partner Mark Boal ready to go and a cast that was led by Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, and Will Smith. Sounds like slam dunk talent all around and a surefire awards player, right? Well, it seemingly wasn’t to be.
Bigelow and Boal were never able to get it off the ground. Obviously, they moved on to Zero Dark Thirty and have since also made Detroit, due for release in a few months. Last year, it seemed like the flick had a second life with J.C. Chandor coming on to direct. Boal’s script was still in play, and a new trio was set, consisting of Mahershala Ali, Tom Hardy, and Channing Tatum. Not bad at all. Then, of course, things went sideways. Paramount wouldn’t give the green light and Triple Frontier appeared to be dead, or at least stuck back in development hell once again.
Not so fast, actually. Yesterday, word spread that Netflix may be coming to save the day and pay for/distribute the film. Not only that, while Hardy and Tatum have moved on, following in the footsteps of Depp, Hanks, and Smith, Chandor has found a pair of very capable actors to step in. Now rumored to join Ali in bringing Boal’s script to the screen are siblings Ben Affleck and Casey Affleck. The Academy Award winning brothers could be sharing the screen for the first time in almost two decades. It’s early still, but while the 2017 release date once speculated about is probably not happening, this may very well turn out to be a 2018 contender.
Assuming it actually gets made, Triple Frontier seems like a potential Oscar friendly movie in many categories. Provided the goods are there, eventually we could see it compete in Best Picture, Best Director (for J.C. Chandor), Best Actor/Best Supporting Actor (for Ali or either Affleck), Best Original Screenplay (for Boal), and basically across the board technical category possibilities. I initially had it hanging around in early predictions this year, but if it can live up to the hype, it will again be in play next year. It just has to get made, and that might wind up being the hardest part.
As a bonus, here is how I would rank Ben Affleck’s ten best performances to date:
10. Jersey Girl
9. Dazed and Confused
8. Boiler Room
7. The Company Men
5. Good Will Hunting
3. Gone Girl
2. The Town
1. Chasing Amy
Honorable Mention: Bounce, Dogma, and Shakespeare in Love
Here also is how I would rank Casey Affleck’s ten best turns so far:
10. Out of the Furnace
9. Lonesome Jim
7. The Last Kiss
6. Good Will Hunting
5. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
4. The Killer Inside Me
3. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
2. Gone Baby Gone
1. Manchester by the Sea
Honorable Mention: 200 Cigarettes, The Finest Hours, and Interstellar
Right now, this is just speculation. Maybe Netflix won’t end up saving the day. Maybe Ali won’t stick around. Maybe one or both Affleck boys won’t sign up. Maybe Chandor will step aside. It’s early, but this is a welcome bit of good news for a film struggling to get off the ground. Right now, I’m sure Boal, Chandor, and company will take whatever positive developments they can get. The dueling Affleck additions, provided they end up in the picture, provide some nice excitement. I’ll be following along as this one hopefully moves towards a start date. Sit tight for any news as it happens…
Stay tuned for much more on Triple Frontier!