All about Ben Affleck's next film, an Agatha Christie short story

Ben Affleck, who directed and starred in Argo, will be working on a short story by Agatha Christie Ben Affleck, who directed and starred in Argo, will be working on a short story by Agatha Christie

In Ben Affleck's next adventurous project, he will be tackling a court room drama based on a short story written by famous crime writer Agatha Christie. The Witness for the Prosecution, published in 1925, is a nail-biting courtroom drama.

The story revolves around 33-year-old Leonard Vole, who is thrust into the middle of a crime, accused of murdering an extravagantly rich elderly woman, Emily French. Vole is the prime suspect because, unaware to him until told so by the solicitor, French bequeathed all her wealth to him before she died. French called him home several times on the pretext of helping her look into her accounts and finances, mistaking him to be unmarried.

Vole's defence is to ask the prosecution to get his alibi from his wife, Romaine. She instead states that he came back home “covered in blood”. Janet Mackenzie, French's maidservant, also thinks Vole killed her mistress.

Mayherne, Vole's defence attorney, is in a fix. The case seems to be straightforward, in which Vole looks guilty. But his instincts tell him otherwise, as he watches Vole's dazed, hopeless persona, and realises that someone is lying.

The 35-page-long story is mostly conversation, quick and crisp, with a twist that comes right out of nowhere. Agatha Christie had drastically changed the original ending of the story later on, when she wrote an adaptation for the stage.

It will be a delight to see how Affleck will deal with the story, and which version he will pick.

So far, all we know is that Affleck will be directing as well as starring in it, backed by 20th Century Fox. Affleck will team up with recurring producer-buddy Matt Damon, as well as the Agatha Christie estate and Jennifer Todd as producers. Christopher Keyser, creator of TV series Party of Five, has been roped in for the script.

A 1957 adaptation of the story by the same name was directed by Billy Wilder. It starred Marlene Dietrich, Tyrone Power and Charles Laughton. The film bagged six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director.

There's a lot to expect from Affleck, whose third directorial project Argo won the Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Awards in 2013.

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