For the past few weeks, I’d heard James Mangold might be directing a movie called Girl With a Gun, based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book about Patty Hearst titled American Heiress, but honestly, I didn’t know how the guy could possibly fit it into his schedule.
After all, Mangold has been in high demand since directing Logan ($616.8 million worldwide) for 20th Century Fox, and has been busy developing a prime property — an adaptation of Don Winslow’s excellent crime novel The Force — for the same studio. Plus, he just signed on to the kids movie Crenshaw. And besides, this Patty Hearst project would all depend on “the girl.” Without her, there’s no movie.
And yet now, with the news that Elle Fanning is in talks to play the infamous heiress (which the Tracking Board has confirmed), Mangold has committed to making Fox 2000’s Untitled Patty Hearst Project his next movie.
The film will trace the audacious, kaleidoscopic and psychologically twisted story of a true-life Alice in Wonderland, Patricia Hearst, whose capture and two-year detainment by the Symbionese Liberation Army in the mid 1970’s captured the world’s imagination and plunged the sheltered young woman into the center of a counter-culture revolution. Hearst’s assimilation into the SLA, and transition from hostage to warrior, culminates when the kidnapped Berkeley sophomore becomes a leader of the terrorist organization, participating in armed bank robberies before eventually being arrested and forced to stand trial for her crimes.
Mangold wrote the script with Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander, and he’ll also produce alongside Nina Jacobsen and Brad Simpson of Color Force, who worked with Karaszewski and Alexander on FX’s The People vs. O.J. Simpson.
Fanning is one of a small handful of young actresses who could get a film like this made. This movie won’t be like All the Money in the World, where the focus seems to be on the Getty family, rather than Charlie Plummer. This film puts Patty front and center along with her relationship with SLA leader Cinque, aka Donald DeFreeze, and it should be another juicy role for Fanning, who will be coming off of Woody Allen’s new movie.
Fanning’s recent credits include The Beguiled, 20th Century Women, The Neon Demon and the upcoming drama Mary Shelley, and her new film I Think We’re Alone Now will debut at Sundance next month. She’s represented by Echo Lake Entertainment and WME, which also reps Mangold along with Management 360.
Variety broke the news.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief