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Ben Affleck Takes on Ghost Army for Universal

Ghost Army is moving forward at Universal Pictures with Ben Affleck. The historical war drama was originally set up at Warner Bros. with Bradley Cooper attached. Now, the project is moving in a decidedly different direction.

True Detective mastermind Nic Pizzolato has already written the screenplay which will be based on the book ‘The Ghost Army of World War II: How One Top-Secret Unit Deceived the Enemy with Inflatable Tanks, Sound Effects, and Other Audacious Fakery’, which is from authors Rick Beyer & Elizabeth Sayles. The script is also based on the recent Netflix documentary called Ghost Army.

Ben Affleck is producing through his own Pearl Street Films banner, which has parented with Andrew Lazar’s own Mad Chance Productions. Pearl Street’s Madison Ainley is also on board as an executive producer. With the movie in development for a few years now, an earlier draft is also swimming around out there that was initially penned by Henry Gayden. Dateline offers this synopsis for the war drama.

A secret force relied on sleight of hand and illusion to trick the Nazis in 1944. A group of soldiers including future luminaries Bill Blass, Ellsworth Kelly, Arthur Singer, Victor Dowd, Art Kane, and Jack Masey, landed in France to conduct a secret mission. Armed with truckloads of inflatable tanks and a massive collection of sound-effects records, they created the illusion of troop strength on European battlefields to trick the Germans into deploying forces in the wrong places. The secret force of 1100 men of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops – the Ghost Army – dragged duffel bags of drawings and paintings through France and other European cities to stage phony convoys, phantom divisions, and make-believe headquarters to fool the enemy about the strength and location of American units. The campaign is credited with saving thousands of American lives.

Universal’s Executive Vice President of Production Mark Sourian is overseeing the entire production. This will be Ben Affleck’s first directorial effort since 2016’s Live By Night, which was a notorious bomb at the box office after a string of critical hits that included The Town and Argo. The misstep came as Ben Affleck was also starring as Batman in the DCEU. His two main outings with Batman V Superman and Justice League were also considered box office failures.

Ben Affleck was initially supposed to return as Bruce Wayne in his own standalone adventure called The Batman, which he was going to cowrite, direct and star in. Matt Reeves eventually took over as writer and director. It was only announced earlier this year that Ben Affleck would’t be starring in the movie. He has officially left Batman behind and is now focusing on projects like Ghost Army.

Ben Affleck has Witness for the Prosecution lined up as a potential directorial outing. He recently starred in Netflix’s 2019 original movie Triple Frontier. He’ll next be seen in Gavin O’Conner’s Torrance and in Dee Rees’ The Last Thing He Wanted. This news comes from Deadline.

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