Warner Bros. is ramping up development of “Sleeper,” a long-in-development DC Entertainment property that’s set up with producers Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Jennifer Todd.
The studio has brought on the writing team of Shawn Ryan and David Wiener to pen the adaptation of “Sleeper,” based on the series from DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint, written by Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips. The series began publication in 2003.
Affleck and Damon have a first-look deal at Warner Bros. through their Pearl Street banner. No director or actors have been attached to “Sleeper.”
After his first day of shooting, Affleck called Matt Damon, whom he has known since he was 5, and who happened also to be nearby, in Pittsburgh, making a different film, “Promised Land.”
“He came over for dinner, and he was bummed out,” Damon told me. “Casey has always been very hard on himself. But he was 35, he’s not a kid anymore and he was genuinely disturbed about what had happened. He had just done a scene with Bale, and he had been so blown away by what Christian had done — and it wasn’t anything remarkable; it was a difficult scene, but what Christian had to do was relatively simple, he wasn’t pulling any tricks. He was genuine and honest and real.” According to Damon, Casey told him that, by comparison, “I was just pulling faces.”
[Casey] tells me he decided “pretty early on” that he was chronically uncomfortable with the demands of celebrity, “but it’s mostly because I knew that I wasn’t good at it... It didn’t feel good to me, and I wasn’t pulling it off.” Affleck’s discomfort with the topic is palpable — and also notable, given that Ben and Damon have both proved to be excellent at being famous. Ben Affleck, despite some early struggles with fame, has since enjoyed a redemptive comeback that culminated in an Oscar win. Damon is rare among superstar actors: he’s managed to keep his private life more or less private, his artistic choices are consistently interesting, and he still finds time to star in viral videos cursing out Jimmy Kimmel.
After “To Die For,” Affleck decided he didn’t want to move back to Los Angeles, so he headed for New York. One day, he got a call from Van Sant. “Gus said, ‘I’m halfway through this script, and it says it’s co-written by Ben Affleck, is that your brother?’ ” Casey says. Casey assured him it was, and Van Sant said, “It’s pretty good, I’ll finish it.” The script was “Good Will Hunting,” which Van Sant eventually directed, and which won Ben Affleck and Matt Damon an Oscar for best original screenplay.
Damon told me that in the past, Casey would call him to discuss whether he should take a role and interrogate him for three or four hours, taking whatever position Damon didn’t; as soon as Damon relented, Casey would immediately take the other side. (And when Damon would excuse himself to, say, feed his kids, he’d find out later from Ben that Ben had gone through the exact same process — that Casey had called Damon as soon as Ben hung up.) The three of them constantly discuss each other’s projects, but, unlike for Ben and Damon, for Casey this led to a sort of paralysis.
George Clooney on Matt and his character
"There's a sort of American boy quality to Matt. He's the romantic lead, if there is one."