August 28, 2007 / 8:11 AM / 11 years ago

Affleck directing debut set for French premiere

PARIS (Hollywood Reporter) - The film almost doesn’t need an introduction: Affleck (times two), a director and cast with a few Academy Award wins among them, a best-selling novel and a gripping story — all sealed by the Miramax label.

Ben Affleck poses at the premiere of "The Bourne Ultimatum" at the Arclight in Hollywood, California July 25, 2007. "Gone, Baby, Gone," Affleck's debut behind the camera, will indeed be introduced to the world at this year's Deauville Festival of American Film on September 5. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

But “Gone, Baby, Gone,” Ben Affleck’s debut behind the camera, will indeed be introduced to the world at this year’s Deauville Festival of American Film on September 5.

The artist formerly known as the prefix of “Bennifer” is back with a promising thriller based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, author of “Mystic River.” The crime drama follows two private investigators searching for a 4-year-old girl kidnapped in a rough neighborhood in Boston.

Affleck produced, directed and co-wrote the film, but he stayed behind the camera, choosing instead to bestow the leading role upon his brother, Casey. The younger Affleck is on the brink of a breakthrough year, with a starring role opposite Brad Pitt in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” also in Deauville’s lineup. Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris and Amy Ryan round out the high-powered cast of “Gone.”

Casey Affleck arrives at the premiere of 'The Last Kiss' in Hollywood, September 13, 2006. Casey is on the brink of a breakthrough year, with a starring role opposite Brad Pitt in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford". REUTERS/Max Morse

After reading “Gone, Baby, Gone,” the fourth book in Lehane’s popular series about a co-ed team of South Boston detectives, the elder Affleck sought out the book rights from producer Alan Ladd Jr., and then wrote a script with high school buddy Aaron Stockard. Affleck and Matt Damon won an Oscar in 1998 for writing “Good Will Hunting.”

“Gone, Baby, Gone” was shot last summer in the “Southy” section of Boston. Affleck made it a point to incorporate real Boston locations and employ nonprofessional actors to create a realistic panorama of life on the streets in a part of town known for being blue-collar and familial yet often violent — a place he and his brother know well.

Both famous freres are confirmed to attend the world premiere in Deauville. The film is set for an October 19 North American release.

So why the trip from the brutal streets of Beantown to quiet Normandy for such a star-studded, high-profile project?

“Deauville always has a great combo of smart independent films and more commercial fare, so we thought that this movie would be a great fit for the festival,” said Miramax president of production Keri Putnam. “We felt that France is such a director-driven market and really embraces filmmakers. The country just seems to love cinema.”

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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