At the end of one of the most contentious and drawn out Hollywood musical chairs guessing games, Jim Gianopulos landed the (booby?) prize of Chairman and CEO of the drowning-on-dry-land white whale Paramount Pictures. So far, Gianopulos is cleaning house and not pulling any punches, having pulled the plug on J.C. Chandor’s (Margin Call, A Violent Year) Triple Frontier, an action-adventure story set in the notorious border zone between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil that serves as a haven from unmonitored crime. The film would have starred Channing Tatum, Tom Hardy, and newly minted Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali, and was supposed to start production in May. Ouuuuuuuuuch.
Word on the street was, after Chandor turned in a rewrite that Tatum and Harding balked at (in particularly Hardy), Paramount took a hard look at the film’s tight schedule, price and request for extensive changes from (allegedly) Hardy, and decided to close up shop. However, there is hope for the possibility of a last minute resurrection via Hollywood’s greatest frenemy - Netflix. The VOD giant is at the front of the pack to take over the project and if all goes well, they would offer, wait for it……Ben and Casey Affleck, Hollywood’s Mario Bros., (who is Mario and who is Luigi pray tell?) the lead roles with Mahershala Ali still on board the picture.
From a purely industry perspective, talk about making lemonade out of lemons, with an extra helping of prestige sheen on the side. Triple Frontier would be a pretty fluffy feather in Netflix’s cap for their feature film releases. The VOD platform has been laying major groundwork for their film releases in the last two years since Beasts of No Nation was released in 2015, of which we are now beginning to see the fruits of their labor.
With Casey coming fresh off a Best Actor victory at the Oscars and Ben Affleck looking to gain back some ground after the stumbles of Batman vs. Superman and Live By Night, this version of Triple Frontier could be a project to be reckoned with. Triple Frontier’s a unique “must see factor” with the Afflecks appearing on screen together since 200 Cigarettes in 1999 would also be pretty enticing. On the other hand, the douche fumes are going to be STRONG; while the Minivan Majority and Ordinary American Joes forgive a lot of their idols, there are those who also won’t forget one Affleck brother was sued for (and settled - always the mark of the guilty) sexual harassment and the other brother screwed the nanny who looked after his children, while on the property he was sharing with his wife. #NeverForget.
Although I would have much rather preferred Tatum and Hardy as the leads, I hope the project materializes, because from a purely business perspective, it would be a major win-win. Chandor would get to make his film, Netflix would gain a prestigious coup de grace, and cinephiles and film buffs would have another adult drama to consume as the genre continues to shrink. There is truly no business like show business.