Ben Affleck is a busy bee. He already played the Dark Knight in both Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and David Ayer’s Suicide Squad earlier this year, and the Oscar winner also has The Accountant this fall and his next directing vehicle, Live By Night, released right in the thick of awards season. But in addition to returning to the cowl for the currently-filming Justice League (and reportedly working on his own solo Batman film), Affleck added another project to his plate: he’ll direct Agatha Christie’s Witness For the Prosecution, which will become his fifth film, depending on when that solo Batman film comes together.
Deadline got the news, and there’s an interesting twist this time around. While Warner Bros. released every Affleck-directed project since 2010’s The Town (Mirmax released his debut, 2007’s Gone, Baby, Gone), Witness For the Prosecution will instead be distributed under 20th Century Fox. In addition to directing, Affleck will also produce alongside Jennifer Todd and Matt Damon. He’s also planning to star in the adaptation in a currently-undisclosed part. It’s likely, however, he’ll fill the same role Charles Laughton played in the 1957 Billy Wilder film, a lawyer who represents a man accused of murdering a wealthy widow who left him her estate.
The plot then follows the suspect’s wife, who is called as a witness to the stand because she was married to another man when she wedded the defendant. From there, there are twists and there are turns. Such is the case with Christie. Affleck has some pretty big shoes to fill, as the original film got six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Director. But Affleck is also the man behind Argo, so he shouldn’t be too concerned about his award chances. (Side note: Live By Night has some pretty serious, if somewhat premature, Oscar buzz).
Affleck’s Witness For the Prosecution will be written by Christopher Keyser, best known as the creator behind Party of Five. Details will likely stay slim until Affleck finishes his current superhero commitments, as well as press rounds for The Accountant and Live By Night. Even then, however, it’s unclear when he’ll get around to this one. There’s no release date set, and Fox will likely have to wait until Affleck’s done with his Batman film, which he is currently writing beside Geoff Johns. But he’s stacking his deck at least, and it’s encouraging to see Affleck fit time for work outside of explosive blockbusters.