While Matt Damon is in development on a new Bourne movie and Ben Affleck is working on the Batman reboot, the duo announced today that they’re also producing a scripted film for HBO titled Thirst. Variety describes the project as a multi-layered story set against the backdrop of the global water crisis. Blood Diamond writer Charles Leavitt will write the script and Elliott Lester (Nightingale) is set to direct.
Both actors are known for being vocal about environmental issues with a particular focus on water. Damon co-founded Water.org which works to raise funds for resource development among the 2.5 billion people worldwide who lack sanitation or clean water. Two years ago the organization sponsored ‘Strike With Me’ a humorous campaign where Damon went on strike from going to the bathroom until everyone has access to clean water. In the video Damon discusses the cost of providing clean water for one person for life ($25) and calls for donations to the organization.
The campaign hoped to raise $10,000 to help 400 people but ended up with more than $78,000 in donations. “As a guy who has four daughters, this is a huge issue for women and girls: girls are often left to leave school and go find water, and that obviously has a huge impact on the quality of life they can expect to have,” said Damon in a promotional interview for his organization.
Affleck founded the Eastern Congo Initiative in 2010 after he actively went looking to become more philanthropic. Inspired by the documentary film Reporter, which he executive produced, and the writing of renowned journalist Nicholas Kristof, he researched human rights abuses in Africa and focused his efforts on the Democratic Republic of Congo. ECI is a grant-making and advocacy foundation working toward economic and social development in DRC. Affleck also directed a short film called Gimme Shelter about the region’s humanitarian crisis in 2010.
Damon and Affleck have an established relationship with HBO, having just resurrected their Project Greenlight series for the network after a ten-year hiatus. Damon recently made headlines following an episode where he made poorly thought-out comments about diversity to the only minority person in the room. The news about this film will definitely divert attention back to the socially-conscious image the actor would prefer to portray.
As executive producers the duo will be joined on Thirst by Jennifer Todd (Alice in Wonderland, Memento), Josh Weinstock (Nightingale), and Drew Vinton (Promised Land).