ADAPTATION OF BENDIS/ANDREYKO GRAPHIC NOVEL 'TORSO', WHICH FINCHER ALMOST MADE WITH... MATT DAMON
Deadline's Anita Busch reported today that Paul Greengrass is in negotiations with Paramount to direct Ness, an adaptation of Torso, a graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyko that fictionalizes Eliot Ness' time in Cleveland, hunting down a serial killer. Brian Helgeland is named as the screenwriter. The project, which, according to Busch, Paramount is eyeing as a potential franchise, had obsessed David Fincher for a while about a decade ago. Fincher's version had a screenplay by Ehren Kruger, and in December of 2008, without yet getting the greenlight from Paramount, Fincher was nevertheless quietly preparing to begin shooting with Matt Damon in the title role. Casey Affleck had also been cast, with Rachel McAdams also in negotiations for a role. Paramount pulled the plug on the project soon after. (Meanwhile, De Palma's Untouchables prequel, Capone Rising, had been stalled over questions about who owns the rights.)
FINCHER'S VISION: "WE WANT TO MAKE IT THE CITIZEN KANE OF COP MOVIES"
If Greengrass does indeed go forward as director, it does not seem far-fetched in the least to expect that his Bourne franchise star Damon will hop back on board to play Ness. Paramount is probably salivating over the ads already: "From the director of Jason Bourne," while Matt Damon's face is plastered all over the screen. Although Fincher's interests are probably seen as too dark, bold, and risky to build a potential police franchise around, he had told MTV's Kurt Loder in 2007 that it wasn't the torso killings that interested him so much, but rather "the de-mythologizing of Eliot Ness. Because, you know, The Untouchables was only two or three years of the Eliot Ness story. There's a whole other, much more sinister downside to it. And so that's of interest to me. We want to make it the Citizen Kane of cop movies."