Touchstone courts drama: Affleck, Damon reunite at Disney
Disney's Touchstone has made a deal for a pic based on a true story that will star Ben Affleck and Matt Damon as lawyers who spent 15 years overturning a murder conviction.
The untitled drama will be scripted by Chris Murphey. Sean Bailey, who partners with Affleck and Damon in LivePlanet, will produce with Amanda Stern and Fred Bodner. LivePlanet's Daniel Pipski will exec produce.
Affleck will play Michael Banks and Damon will be J. Gordon Cooney, two lawyers at a Philadelphia firm that took on a pro bono appeal that turned into a 15-year crusade. The lawyers won nine stays of execution for death-row inmate John Thompson and finally got him exonerated of all charges.
The package was brought to LivePlanet's Bailey by Original Artists, and the Disney deal includes life rights of the attorneys and Thompson. Also aboard as consultant is John Holloway, who has done research for a book he's writing on the case. Touchstone's Brigham Taylor and Nina Jacobson will shepherd the film.
Affleck and Damon last teamed in starring roles for the Kevin Smith-directed "Dogma." Though LivePlanet was behind the Affleck-Damon produced "Project Greenlight," the legal drama is the first developed specifically as a star vehicle for the duo.
LivePlanet is also mounting "Gone Baby Gone," a Miramax adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel that Affleck wrote and will direct in Boston this summer. Affleck will next be seen playing George "Superman" Reeves in the Allen Coulter-directed "Hollywoodland."
Damon, coming off "Syriana," recently completed the Martin Scorsese-directed "The Departed," the Robert De Niro-directed "The Good Shepherd" and is expected to reprise roles in sequels "The Bourne Ultimatum" and "Ocean's Thirteen."