A childhood friendship between Matt Damon and Ben Affleck culminated in nine Oscar nominations – and two wins – when they both joined heads to write and star in Good Will Hunting more than a decade ago.
Since the late 1990s, each has married, settled down and forged his own path. Now, a decade after they starred in their last film together – Dogma – they are on the verge of signing a deal which may lead to a re-sparked writing-acting relationship.
Unconfirmed reports suggested that the two actors were on the verge of signing a deal with Warner Brothers which would lead them to produce films jointly in a "first look" deal with the studio, meaning Warner Brothers would get first refusal in any future film project.
While they have co-produced in the past, the news that they were coming together again led to widespread speculation that the collaboration could lead to a co-writing, co-starring role for the two friends.
Empire magazine said: "The duo have been talking about a second script for ages now and maybe this deal will give them the impetus they need."
Ali Jaafar, a correspondent at Variety film magazine, added that it marked the "next chapter" in their professional relationship, and said there was every likelihood the two would reunite in a film together.
"Since Good Will Hunting, which they co-wrote together, they have become stars in their own right, going their separate professional ways. I'm sure if they find the right project fit for one or both of them, it will make a [co-starring role] much likelier," he said.
The pair lived two blocks away from each other in their childhood town of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and became fast friends. They attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, although in different year groups – Damon, 39, is two years older than Affleck.
Both aspiring actors burst the ramparts of Hollywood with their self-penned, self-starring, indie drama Good Will Hunting in 1997, which was directed by Gus Van Sant, and tells the story of a maths prodigy hoodlum from south Boston who worked as a cleaner. It was a financial and critical success, earning them numerous awards and propelling them to Hollywood prominence. Two years later, they once again starred in a film, Dogma, this time a surreal comedy, which was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for best screenplay (written by the film-maker Kevin Smith, a friend of theirs).
But after this final on-screen collaboration, they went their separate ways, Damon starring in a series of big-budget box office blockbusters such as Saving Private Ryan and the Bourne trilogy action thrillers, while Affleck's career was successful but tarred with a few notable flops and a stint in alcohol rehab. Latterly, he has turned to directing, making his debut, Gone Baby Gone, starring his brother, Casey, in 2007. The friends married their respective partners in the same year – 2005. While Affleck has had a series of high-profile romances with actresses including Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez, Damon has remained out of the limelight, marrying Luciana Bozan Barroso, a former bartender he met in Miami.
Warner Brothers could not confirm the deal, but The Hollywood Reporter suggested an official announcement should arrive in the next few days.