Honestly, Jake, do not worry if you completely forgot it’s Chinatown. According to Deadline, Ben Affleck is here to remind you, by writing and directing a movie depicting the making of Roman Polanski’s 1974 neo-noir classic Chinatown. The movie will be based on Sam Wasson’s The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood, which was published February 4. Even more intriguing, apparently Saturday Night Live’s Lorne Michaels, who optioned the book rights and approached Paramount with the project, will also produce.
According to Macmillan’s description of the book, The Big Goodbye explores Chinatown as the jewel in the crown of 1970s Hollywood cinema. “Here is Jack Nicholson at the height of his powers, as compelling a movie star as there has ever been, embarking on his great, doomed love affair with Anjelica Huston,” the publisher writes. “Here is director Roman Polanski, both predator and prey, haunted by the savage death of his wife, returning to Los Angeles, the scene of the crime, where the seeds of his own self-destruction are quickly planted. Here is the fevered dealmaking of ‘The Kid’ Robert Evans, the most consummate of producers. Here, too, is Robert Towne’s fabled script, widely considered the greatest original screenplay ever written.” How, or if, the movie is going to grapple with the numerous sexual assault allegations against Polanski in the years since is as-yet unclear.
Affleck starred in the basketball drama The Way Back earlier this year, but hasn’t directed since 2016’s Live by Night, which he also wrote and starred in. It’s not clear if Affleck will act in his Big Goodbye–inspired film, but watching Ben Affleck as Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes as directed by Ben Affleck does sound, no matter how it turns out, unforgettable.