Many moons ago, a photo of Ben Affleck's exposed back broke the internet. The photographs revealed the actor's incredibly baffling tattoo — not baffling because of its cliché subject matter (it's a phoenix rising from the ashes... really?), but because of the amount of real estate it took up on his back (read: the entire back, and beyond). Initially everyone assumed that the bizarre mythological tattoo was temporary and fake for an upcoming role, but the permanent phoenix has risen again in full form.
And it has friends.
Affleck, his tattoo, and his permanently disgruntled facial expression appeared on a beach in Hawaii this past weekend while preparing for his new role in the drama, Triple Frontier. According to Deadline, Triple Frontier tells the story of five friends who reunite to take down a South American drug dealer "unleashing a chain of unintended consequences." The script has been shopped around for awhile, and has finally found a home with Netflix.
In addition to the rising phoenix, the movie also stars the two wrestling blondes (Garrett Hedlund, Mudbound bae and Armie Hammer lookalike, and Charlie Hunnam, bad boy star of Sons of Anarchy), one Game of Thrones alumnae (Pedro Pascal), and one angel (Oscar Isaac).
Now, The Hollywood Reporter writes that the movie hasn't started officially filming yet on location in Hawaii, which means that these photos are just showing the guys getting into character and shooting the shit in the sand (Pascal appears to not have arrived yet). But these beachside behind-the-scenes photos alone are better than any social media campaign — Hedlund and Hunnam playfully wrestling like two little bear cubs are enough to a fill a theatre alone.
If you're thinking that this list of hunky men playing a group of five friends is random, then you better buckle up for the story behind the movie's rotating cast. Other than Affleck and the phoenix, none of these men were originally attached to star in the movie. Due to timing for some and rehab for one, the movie, which was referred to simply as "Untitled J.C. Chandon" project for awhile, had a long list of potential leading men. At one point, the following actors were attached to the project: Mahershala Ali, Casey Affleck, Tom Hardy, Johnny Depp, Channing Tatum, Will Smith, and Tom Hanks. What I would give to see photos of Tom Hanks with Affleck's back tattoo, standing next to a shirtless Ali and Smith, wrangling each other in the frothy waves. However, I'll settle for these two IRL golden doodles for now.
But that tattoo...that tattoo. For Affleck's sake I hope we're wrong and it really is a temporary tat for this role that is meticulously reapplied daily. Because, in the words of Jennifer Lopez: "What are you doing? It has too many colours! His tattoos always have too many colours. They shouldn't be so colourful, you know what I mean? They should be, like, cooler... I don't know."