Casey Affleck has settled on his first new project after winning the Best Actor Oscar for his stunning turn in last year Manchester by the Sea, and it’s a surprising choice. Per Variety, Affleck has opted to take the lead role in Blumhouse Productions’ adaptation of the John Williams novel Stoner, which has Oscar-nominated Atonement and Hanna director Joe Wright attached to take the helm. The 1965 novel revolves around a dirt-poor Missouri boy whose life in the first half of the 20th century finds him embracing a scholar’s life, marrying into a “proper” family, becoming estranged from his own family, finding new love, and encountering scandal.
Andrew Bovell (Edge of Darkness) will pen the screenplay adaptation, which has long been a passion project for producer James Blum. And although Blumhouse is best known for its horror films like The Purge and Get Out, the studio has often expanded its horizons with projects ranging from Split to Jem and the Holograms to Whiplash, so Stoner appears to be a unique albeit not completely-out-of-the-ordinary sort of film for the production company. Cohen Media Group and Film4 will team with Blumhouse on the pic, though no start date has been given.
Affleck had been weighing a number of projects in the wake of his Oscar win after having wrapped A Ghost Story and David Lowery’s The Old Man and the Gun, which is his next film to hit theaters. But this also marks a curious project for Wright, who heads back into awards fray with his Winston Churchill film Darkest Hour. That movie just debuted at the Telluride Film Festival to rave reviews and brings Wright back to his wheelhouse where he cut his teeth on movies like Pride and Prejudice and Atonement. He’s been branching out recently to mixed albeit always ambitious results with the blockbuster Pan and the Black Mirror episode “Nosedive.”
Whenever filming does begin, it likely won’t take long to get this thing wrapped as that’s the Blumhouse model. Regardless, I can’t wait to see the fruits of this particular combination.