Affleck will also write the movie, which is based on the book The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood.

By Nick Romano
August 07, 2020 at 05:49 PM EDT
Ben Affleck, Chinatown
Credit: Amy Sussman/Getty Images; Everett Collection

Ben Affleck has found his next directing gig after most recently appearing in front of the camera in this year's The Way Back.

EW has learned that Affleck is set to direct a movie based on The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood, a book published this year from New York Times best-seller Sam Wasson. He will also adapt the screenplay for the film, which will be produced by Saturday Night Live's Lorne Michaels.

The book chronicles the behind-the-scenes story of Chinatown, the 1974 film noir helmed by Roman Polanski that starred Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. The movie was compelling enough for the time: a private detective (Nicholson) is hired by a woman (Dunaway) to expose her cheating husband, only the investigation throws the P.I. into a proverbial web of deceit. The twist ending, which had quite the impact on audiences at the time, is still of note today.

Then there are the stories about the making of this film, from a younger Nicholson starting his relationship with Anjelica Huston at the time to producer Robert Evans helping to set Paramount as a heavy-hitter studio of the '70s to the on-set conflicts between Polanski and Dunaway.

Wasson writes about all of this and more in The Big Goodbye, which includes details from screenwriter Robert Towne on his acclaimed script. It also documents an era that gave way to the Hollywood we know today, one that shifted away from more filmmaker-friendly studios towards corporatized entities.

Speaking of Chinatown, director David Fincher is also set to co-write a pilot for a planned Chinatown prequel series for Netflix.

It's unclear if Affleck will also appear in this new film, though he commonly does. Not to mention he's been focused more on acting in the past few years. Affleck's last directorial work was 2016's Live By Night. Last year he was also reported to star in and direct the World War II-set Ghost Army.

Deadline was the first to report the news.

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