Before Ben Affleck became a world-renowned director and well-respected almost-politician, he played bullies in films like "Dazed and Confused" and "Mallrats." That latter effort was Affleck's first movie with director Kevin Smith, and the pair would go on to collaborate five other times throughout the next 11 years. According to Smith, however, it was almost six.
Smith took to Twitter on Sunday night to explain what happened to his long-discussed "Fletch" adaptation, "Fletch Won," which he said had Affleck attached at one point.
As fans might recall, Smith wanted "Mallrats" star Jason Lee to play Irwin Fletcher in the adaptation of Gregory Mcdonald's popular novel series. (Chevy Chase played the role in the 1985 film version.) That didn't go over very well with Miramax head Harvey Weinstein, who would have produced "Fletch Won" and didn't think Lee was a big enough star.
Around the the same time, according to Smith, Affleck came to him with an offer to direct a movie at Disney, the parent company of Miramax. That's when things got interesting. (Selected Smith tweets below via Slashfilm):
I had an overall deal w/ Miramax in which they got a first look/crack at anything I wrote and directed. This was directing only, so no prob.
But the thought of a pair of Miramaxkateers working for Michael Eisner didn't sit well. I was told to sit tight while they talked to Disney.
Harvey told Disney it'd be a co-prod, since he had an overall deal with me. Disney declined so I was then instructed to turn the gig down.
So while I'm trying to point out that my deal allowed for me to direct for others, Harvey hits me with a verbal right hook out of nowhere...
Harvey says "Fine: drop that Disney movie and I'll let you make your FLETCH." I was ready to hug him when he added "With BEN as Fletch."
I argued that Ben was still gonna wanna do the flick at Disney, so I was told to convey a message: Miramax would match Ben's Disney offer.
So for about two weeks in 2003, we almost rushed my FLETCH WON flick into production with bloated, studio-like salaries. All to beat Disney.
But mercifully, before a $50 million version of FLETCH WON could happen, Ben passed. He said he didn't feel right about flat-leaving Disney.
That Disney movie - the one that caused so much contention and friction? The studio pulled the plug on it mere weeks away from production.
So Ben didn't wind up doing the movie anyway - which was called GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST. It was made years later... starring Jen Garner.
Smith's "Fletch" movie never happened, but he did make "Clerks II" with Weinstein's post-Miramax company, The Weinstein Company. He's since gone on to become a popular podcaster, producer and public speaker. Smith, who plans to retire as a director, recently said he'll release one last feature: "Clerks III."
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