Best buds Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are teaming up for the first time in a decade to bring one of the summer’s craziest stories to the big screen.
What’s the Story?
On July 28, the Daily Beast published an article by Jeff Maysh that quickly went viral. It had everything—a crooked ex-cop, an FBI sting, psychics, mobsters, drug dealers, and strip clubs. And, of course, McDonald’s.
A week later, a bidding war over the rights to the story secured one of the biggest deals for a single article. Damon and Affleck’s Pearl Street Films bought the rights for $1 million, making Maysh the real winner in this saga.
The scam lasted for a decade. Former police officer Jerome “Uncle Jerry” Jacobson used a network of lowlifes to win almost every prize in McDonald’s Monopoly sweepstakes, netting over $24 million in ill-gotten gains. The scam was brought down during “Operation Final Answer” by the FBI and resulted in a sprawling court case with over 50 defendants.
Maysh had been digging into the story since 2016, interviewing as many people connected with it as possible. The Los Angeles-based journalist got a tip from film producer David Klawans, who suggested the McScam might make an interesting article. Maysh has worked with Ben Affleck before, it turns out. He also wrote the story that inspired Affleck’s film Argo—and Klawans had a hand in that article as well.
After the huge success of Good Will Hunting in 1997 (which was 21 years ago!), Damon and Affleck’s careers took wildly diverging paths. Damon continued steadily building up blockbuster roles, including the Jason Bourne franchise, while Affleck’s career was derailed more than once because of his personal drama. Through it all, the duo has remained close.
“I can’t tell you how valuable it is to have somebody who’s been through things with you, ups and downs, who knows what your life experience is like, who can identify with that,” Affleck told ET.
Another Oscar in the Making?
Between the two of them, Affleck and Damon have 3 Oscars and a pile of nominations and wins for other awards. Will this finally their chance to snag another golden statue? So far, we know that Affleck is attached to direct the movie, while Damon is set to star as the disgraced ex-cop who masterminded the scam.
The last time the pair worked together, things were less than successful. They costarred in Kevin Smith’s 1999 film Dogma, which was met with a lukewarm response from critics. Regardless of whether the McScam movie is a hit—but given how incredible the story is, surely it’ll be good—the best friends are simply happy to be working together again.