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Zeitgeist: Ben Affleck to direct and star in movie about ex-Islanders coach Jack Capuano

EXCLUSIVE! The two-time Oscar takes on his most dynamic role yet: coach of the Islanders

The New York Times says the movie is packed with “Battle Level.”

[Ed. Note: The following article appeared in the print version of Variety Canada this morning. It is being re-printed here with permission.]

Oscar-winner Ben Affleck is in talks to direct and star in a film based on the extraordinary life and career of hockey coach Jack “Cappy” Capuano, who was recently fired from his position with the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League.

No screenwriter is attached to the as-yet untitled project, and no start date has been announced for the production. But Affleck plans to begin working on the movie right away and is aiming for a 2018 release date to coincide with that year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“A lot of people might not know this, but I’m from the Boston area and a big sports fan,” Affleck revealed. “And the story of a man rising from humble beginnings to become a coach in the pros really speaks to me.”

Capuano, originally from the hardscrabble streets of Cranston, R.I., was a player and coach in several minor leagues for over a decade before getting the call from the NHL in 2010. He went on to become the second-winningest coach in Islanders history, as well as a published author, motivational speaker and cultural icon.

Affleck, who won Oscars for Best Original Screenplay (Good Will Hunting) and Best Picture (Argo, which he directed), told Variety Canada that he sees a lot of himself in Capuano and that the coach’s story is a natural fit for a prestige motion picture.

“Like Jack, I also worked my way up from the bottom to the pinnacle of my profession. I went from being a kid actor in Voyage of the Mimi to giant tentpole films where I save the world as either a meteor driller, a superhero or just a lovable lug from Boston who’s trying to do the right thing.

“I know I can tell Jack Capuano’s story as it should be told.”

Affleck also said he expects to play Capuano, whose weight loss, wardrobe and signature hair style became hallmarks of his tenure with the Islanders.

“It’ll be a little like Raging Bull, with me wearing different elaborate costumes and prosthetics to show the many sides of this fascinating man. I’m excited for this.”

The director would not discuss whether longtime friend Matt Damon would play Capuano’s assistant coach (and eventual replacement) Doug Weight, or if his brother Casey would play Islanders captain John Tavares.

Affleck’s most recent movie is Live by Night, which he also directed and stars in. Live by Night tells the story of a jazz band of Boston-based vampires who move to New Orleans to open the city’s first lobster roll stand.

Affleck is also attached to direct and star in a standalone Batman movie, reprising the role he has played in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad and the upcoming Justice League.

But the Capuano movie comes first.

“People keep asking me about this whole Batman thing, but the Capuano project is way more interesting,” Affleck said. “Who cares about a guy who punches lunatics in crazy outfits when you have a movie about a guy who once coached the Islanders. That’s much, much scarier than anything Batman has to deal with.”

This is obviously not real in the slightest. We all know Affleck isn’t from Boston and isn’t really a big sports fan.