In late 2007, soon after the critical success of Ben Affleck’s directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone, it was announced that Affleck, along with his writing and producing partner on Gone, Sean Bailey, had adapted the rights to Marcus Sakey’s crime novel, The Blade Itself. The novel is about two childhood friends — boys who grew up committing petty crimes with one another — who are reunited and discover how different they have become as adults. One of the men will have to make a tough decision if he wants to protect the secrets of his past. The novel was set in Chicago, though with Affleck and Bailey involved, it wouldn’t be out of the question to imagine it being transplanted to Boston.
Anyway, development on this project has been strangely quiet since then, though we do know that Aaron Stockhard, who penned the screenplay for Gone Baby Gone also wrote the script for The Blade Itself.
We’ve now learned from our Hollywood insider, The Hollywood Cog, that development has quietly been moving along. In fact, Chris Pine quietly came aboard to star in The Blade Itself last May, days before J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek was released. Pine has been adding movies to his post-Star Trek slate for a while — most recently, there were rumors that he’d take over the Jack Ryan franchise (our source has nothing new on the Jack Ryan rumors, except that Hossein Amini’s script was recently turned in and that, for what it’s worth, Steven Zaillian (A Civil Action) was at one time attached to direct, though he’s fallen off the project; moreover, contrary to rumored reports, Sam Raimi was a contender, but never a serious one due to scheduling conflicts).
At any rate, despite the upswing in Pine’s popularity, as of six weeks ago, Pine was still attached to The Blade Itself, and though no director is officially attached, Pine was scheduled to meet with the top contender at that time (identity unknown, but it is not Affleck) before they officially hired him.
I’ll admit, despite massive reservations, I liked Chris Pine in Star Trek, but I’m still skeptical about Pine as a real actor, and gritty crime novels produced by Ben Affleck don’t necessarily seem to suit Pine. Then again, I thought the same of similarly baby-faced Casey Affleck before seeing Gone Baby Gone and The Assassination of Jesse James.