Yesterday, we reported that Matt Damon had backed out of directing the untitled script he had co-written with John Krasinski, but the two would remain on board to co-star. Today, The Playlist reports and Deadline confirms that Gus Van Sant has stepped in to replace Damon. The “Capra-esque” tale has Damon and Krasinski playing corporate executives. When Damon’s character arrives in a small town, he begins to seriously reexamine his life. Krasinski originally paid Dave Eggers (Away We Go) to write the first draft, and then teamed up with Damon when Eggers was unavailable to do further work on the script. The project can now move forward again with Van Sant on board, but there’s no guarantee that Warner Bros. will make the movie. However, the process of setting the $15 million budget will begin next week.
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Damon reportedly dropped out of directing because he couldn’t make the necessary time commitment to the project, and Van Sant was the only director they considered as a replacement. It’s not much of a surprise since Damon and Van Sant have had a good working relationship on Good Will Hunting and Gerry. The larger question is whether or not Van Sant will actually bring something to the film or if he’ll just phone it in like he did with his last movie, Restless. Hopefully his strong chemistry with Damon and the quality of the script will provide a nice bounce back for a director who can still create a good movie when he cares about the material.