After a journey to Iran in 1979 with this weekend’s Argo, Ben Affleck is heading back to his native Boston and even further back in time with Live By Night, an adaptation of author Dennis Lehane’s latest novel.
Affleck will go the route of 2010’s The Town for this adaptation, taking on quadruple duty by directing, penning the screenplay, producing through his Pearl Street studio and starring, presumably as the lead character Joe Coughlin.
This will mark Ben Affleck’s second teaming with Lehane after sampling his 1998 detective novel Gone, Baby, Gone (and dropping the commas) for his acclaimed directorial debut in 2007. This particular gritty, crime-riddled Boston should turn out to be a stellar marriage of author and filmmaker once again.
Live By Night will be a prohibition era-set gangster flick which chronicles the rise of the Joe character, which is said to be “a dizzying journey up the ladder of organized crime.” In all the best ways, this film sounds like the result of taking the structure of Goodfellas and splicing it with the style and period feel of Boardwalk Empire.
This Lehane adaptation will join that acclaimed HBO show and the well received Lawless from earlier this year as examples of entries in this niche genre. Hopefully this is indicative of some sort of a trend, as I find prohibition-era United States one of the more fascinating chapters in North American history.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated as this project develops and in the meantime, you can check out the official synopsis for the novel below.
Boston, 1926. The ’20s are roaring. Liquor is flowing, bullets are flying, and one man sets out to make his mark on the world.
Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominentBostonpolice captain, has long since turned his back on his strict and proper upbringing. Now having graduated from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city’s most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the spoils, thrills, and notoriety of being an outlaw.
But life on the dark side carries a heavy price. In a time when ruthless men of ambition, armed with cash, illegal booze, and guns, battle for control, no one—neither family nor friend, enemy nor lover—can be trusted. Beyond money and power, even the threat of prison, one fate seems most likely for men like Joe: an early death. But until that day, he and his friends are determined to live life to the hilt.
Joe embarks on a dizzying journey up the ladder of organized crime that takes him from the flash of Jazz Age Boston to the sensual shimmer ofTampa’s Latin Quarter to the sizzling streets ofCuba. Live by Night is a riveting epic layered with a diverse cast of loyal friends and callous enemies, tough rumrunners and sultry femmes fatales, Bible-quoting evangelists and cruel Klansmen, all battling for survival and their piece of the American dream. At once a sweeping love story and a compelling saga of revenge, it is a spellbinding tour de force of betrayal and redemption, music and murder, that brings fully to life a bygone era when sin was cause for celebration and vice was a national virtue.