Casey Affleck to star in adaptation of ‘Stoner’

LOS ANGELES, CA. OCTOBER 23, 2013-- ACTOR Casey Affleck (brother of Ben Affleck) co-stars in OUT O
Casey Affleck
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Academy Award-winning actor Casey Affleck will play the title role in a film adaptation of “Stoner,” the “greatest American novel you’ve never heard of,” by John Williams, published in 1965.

Deadline reports that Affleck will star as the protagonist, William Stoner, a farm boy who discovers he’s in love with literature while attending the University of Missouri and later becomes a professor stuck in a troubled marriage.

The film will be produced by Jason Blum, Charles S. Cohen and Daniel Battsek, with actor Ethan Hawke serving as executive producer.

Joe Wright will direct the movie. Wright is no stranger to film adaptations of novels; his previous films include “Pride & Prejudice,” “Atonement” and “Anna Karenina.”


In a statement, Blum said that fans of the cult favorite novel were like members of a “secret club.”

“I’m so excited that Casey, Joe and Andrew have come aboard to help expand this club’s membership,” he said. “This quintessentially American work is being brought to the screen by a terrific international team, and we’re confident their combined perspectives will add rich layers to this moving story.”

“Stoner” was never a popular novel. It’s gone in and out of print since its initial publication; the current available edition is published by New York Review Books Classics.


The novel has, however, drawn rapturous reviews from critics, especially in recent years. A 2013 article for the New Yorker called the book the “greatest American novel you’ve never heard of”; the same year, the Independent called it the “book of a lifetime.”

“Stoner” was the third novel by Williams, who would go on to win the National Book Award for his novel “Augustus” in 1972. Williams died in 1994.