The duo behind the smash-hit I’m Still Here is reuniting! Okay, so maybe the Joaquin Phoenix “documentary” didn’t exactly make waves, but still, Phoenix and Casey Affleck are teaming up for yet another promising project, so there is reason to celebrate. Per THR, Affleck will direct the Western Far Bright Star, which takes place in 1916 and revolves around an aging calvaryman (to be played by Phoenix) who is leading a ragtag group of young men on a hunt for the legendary Pancho Villa. However, when the group is attacked and most of the men are killed, the man is left struggling to survive in the desert.
The film is based on the 2009 novel of the same name by author Robert Olmstead, and Affleck is also onboard to produce the project, which has a screenplay by Damien Ober.
Affleck, of course, previously directed Phoenix in the faux doc I’m Still Here, which followed Phoenix’s “downward spiral” in the public eye as he retired from acting and set about starting a career as a rapper. The film lost a bit of steam when it was revealed/confirmed that Phoenix was really partaking in a piece of performance art just before it hit theaters, leading many to not even bother seeing the picture. Which is a shame, because it’s a fascinating piece of cinema that I think got unfairly sidelined. It nearly ended the careers of both Affleck and Phoenix, who took considerable time off from other projects to see I’m Still Here to fruition, but I’m happy to see the duo working together on something a bit more traditional.
While he’s no stranger to the genre, perhaps Affleck got the Western bug again from his work on the upcoming HBO miniseries Lewis and Clark, in which he stars. That TV project went into production earlier this year, but halted this summer as the director departed over creative differences. It’s scheduled to kick back up again in the spring with a new creative team, when the weather becomes more amenable.
It’s unclear when filming might begin, but Phoenix has certainly been choosy about projects as of late, turning down a role in Star Wars: Episode VIII and flirting with a reunion with M. Night Shyamalan. Far Bright Star is currently the only upcoming project solidified on his slate.