Thesp will make helming debut on Boston-set pic

Touchstone and Ben Affleck are “Gone, Baby, Gone.”

Affleck will make his directing debut on his adaptation of novel “Gone, Baby, Gone,” by “Mystic River” author Dennis Lehane. Pic had been in development at Paramount for producer Alan Ladd Jr.

Pic will shoot this fall in Boston, and Affleck will not act in the pic.

Project marks a return to Affleck’s scripting roots after starring in a string of duds like “Surviving Christmas,” “Jersey Girl” and “Gigli.” Affleck won an Oscar for co-writing “Good Will Hunting” with Matt Damon.

“Gone, Baby, Gone” is about a pair of private detectives in a working-class Boston neighborhood who are hired to search for a kidnapped 4-year-old girl.

Ladd, Dan Rissner and Sean Bailey will produce.

Besides his acting career, Affleck has been busy as a producer through his Live Planet shingle, in TV (“Project Greenlight”) and features (“American Wedding”).

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