Ben Affleck to Direct Keeper of the Lost Cities for Disney

Ben Affleck is keeping busy between Dunkin’ runs: Deadline reports that Disney is developing a film adaptation of Shannon Messenger’s middle grade series Keeper of the Lost Cities, with Affleck attached to direct, co-write (with Kate Gritmon), and produce.

Keeper of the Lost Cities is both the title of the first book and the name of the overall series, which follows a telepathic 12-year-old girl who discovered a hidden world that is connected to her powers. Here’s the publisher’s summary of the first book, which was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller:

Twelve-year-old Sophie has never quite fit into her life. She’s skipped multiple grades and doesn’t really connect with the older kids at school, but she’s not comfortable with her family, either. The reason? Sophie’s a Telepath, someone who can read minds. No one knows her secret—at least, that’s what she thinks…

But the day Sophie meets Fitz, a mysterious (and adorable) boy, she learns she’s not alone. He’s a Telepath too, and it turns out the reason she has never felt at home is that, well…she isn’t. Fitz opens Sophie’s eyes to a shocking truth, and she is forced to leave behind her family for a new life in a place that is vastly different from what she has ever known.

But Sophie still has secrets, and they’re buried deep in her memory for good reason: The answers are dangerous and in high-demand. What is her true identity, and why was she hidden among humans? The truth could mean life or death—and time is running out.

There are nine books in the series so far; the latest, Unlocked, was numbered “Book 8.5” and released this past November.  It seems like an odd choice for Affleck, whose previous directorial efforts tend to the serious and adult, if not outright dark and broody, but maybe he just needs a little magic in his cinematic life.

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