Ben Affleck To Direct ‘Replay’ Before He Makes ‘The Trade’?

Hmm, what could possibly come between good ole Boston boys Ben Affleck and Matt Damon and a movie about the New York Yankees (“The Trade,” on which the two are set to collaborate)? Only another NYC-based project that has been stuck in development since 1988. According to The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision blog, Affleck is considering following up his critically acclaimed sophomore directorial effort “The Town” by directing an adaptation of Ken Grimwood’s ’88 fantasy novel “Replay.”

In addition to moving beyond the Boston setting of both “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Town,” Affleck is ditching the crime drama genre for dramatic fantasy. “Replay” follows a 45-year-old Brooklyn man who suffers from a fatal heart attack while trying to prevent the murder of a jogger in Central Park. Instead of dying in the traditional sense, the man is stuck in a “Groundhog Day”-esque “replay” of his life beginning at age 18, where he uses his knowledge of the future to build a financial empire. But money can’t buy him a long life, and he dies again at age 45, forced once again to replay his life. Finally, he and the murdered jogger fall in love and struggle to stop the literally vicious cycle.

The script was written by Jason Smilovic (“Lucky Number Slevin”), and would definitely mark a departure for Affleck, presenting him with the challenge of directing different time periods and alternate realities as they converge on each other, much like Eric Bress did with “The Butterfly Effect” back in 2004. There’s no news on whether Affleck is looking to play the film’s main character like he did in “The Town,” or bring on someone else for the role.

Don’t fret if you’re looking forward to “The Trade,” a movie about real-life 1970s Yankee pitchers who swapped wives. Affleck and his brother Casey are still reworking the script together, and directing “Replay” would give the Afflecks and Damon a chance to figure out who’s starring in and who’s directing the film (it may be Damon). As he told us earlier this fall, “Once the script’s kind of ready, then it’s like: Who’s doing what? What’s the time frame? Matt, me, Casey directing? Particularly for Matt, he’s had this extraordinary career where he’s worked with these great directors. He’s a great director who just hasn’t directed a movie.”

So does directing two projects dealing with New York City mean that Affleck is cutting some of his ties to Boston? We’ll judge by what Affleck last told us about his feelings on the Yankees that the answer to that is “no.”

“I’ve come to have a little more respect for the Yankees. There are some of those guys, I have to say, that look like good guys,” Affleck admitted, but quickly added, “But as an institution? Disdain. Contempt… We couldn’t talk about… and Jeter has another great year! Nope. Guys f—ing each others’ wives — that’s those Yankees.”

Does “Replay” sound like a good movie for Affleck to direct next? Tell us in the comments!