The long-developing thriller Triple Frontier can’t catch a break. It looked as though the film was finally headed to the screen over at Netflix, with J.C. Chandor (All Is Lost, A Most Violent Year) directing and a cast that could include both Ben Affleck and Casey Affleck, but now comes word via Deadline that Ben Affleck has chosen to exit the project. The report notes that Affleck is going to “take some time to focus on his wellness and his family,” so this wasn’t an issue of creative differences or schedule problems. There’s no mention of Casey Affleck’s involvement one way or another, so it’s unclear if he’s attached or not.
The origin of Triple Frontier goes back to 2009, when filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow—about to make history with a Best Director Oscar win for The Hurt Locker—signed on to reteam with her Hurt Locker scribe Mark Boal on the project. The story takes on the drug war, and in that iteration of the project was set in a border zone of South America known as “la triple frontera,” which is a haven for organized crime. Bigelow developed the project for years, with actors like Sean Penn, Denzel Washington, Javier Bardem, and Johnny Depp signing on to star, but Paramount balked at the movie’s $80 million price tag in 2012 and Bigelow reportedly wasn’t crazy about casting the studio’s choice, Will Smith.
So the Bigelow iteration of the movie fell apart, but Chandor became involved last year and recently Tom Hardy and Channing Tatum eyed two starring roles—until they both backed away. Indeed, one might even say Triple Frontier is cursed, so Affleck dropping out of the project is not a huge surprise at this point.
Deadline notes that the film will move forward without him and is casting up quickly, and now that it’s set up at Netflix perhaps it finally will happen. Chandor is coming off of developing Deepwater Horizon before departing that project at the last minute over creative differences (he wanted to go in a more political direction).
As for Affleck, he’s due to appear at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend to push Justice League and is eyeing a The Accountant sequel at Warner Bros., but hasn’t committed to a next project yet after dropping out of directing The Batman earlier this year. That DCEU movie is still early days, as new director Matt Reeves is just now starting to work in earnest on it as he’s starting over from scratch and ditching the screenplay that Affleck and Geoff Johns had been developing. But maybe we’ll have some news on that front at Comic-Con this weekend. We shall see.