James Mangold’s Patty Hearst Biopic Cancelled

James Mangold’s Patty Hearst biopic cancelled

According to Heat Vision, 20th Century Fox has cancelled their planned Patty Hearst biopic, which would have been directed by James Mangold (Logan, Walk the Line). The move comes as Hearst herself has blasted Jeffrey Toobin, whose best-selling Hearst biography American Heiress was to have been the basis for the untitled film, which was set to go before cameras this spring with Elle Fanning (The Neon Demon, Beguiled) playing the infamous newspaper heiress. Hearst was kidnapped in 1974 at age 19 by the revolutionary Symbionese Liberation Army, only to re-emerge acting as as a member of the terrorist group, later serving 22 months in jail for armed robbery despite claiming to have been forced to commit crimes under threat of death.

“Twentieth Century Fox Film and its production partners have decided to cancel the studio’s planned project based on the book ‘American Heiress,’” the studio stated Thursday. Toobin’s book American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst also serves as the basis for the upcoming CNN documentary The Radical Story of Patty Hearst, set to air on the network starting February 11.

The move came after Hearst released a statement saying that Toobin’s book “romanticizes my rape and torture and calls my abduction a ‘rollicking adventure,’” stating she was “saddened and appalled that Fox 2000 agreed to finance and produce a movie based on Toobin’s book (with a similarly themed screenplay, also written by men) and that CNN has agreed to continue to perpetuate a one-sided dialogue romanticizing my torture and rape by hosting a podcast and docuseries through Toobin’s distorted lens. I refuse to give Jeffrey Toobin, 21st Century Fox, CNN or anyone else involved in these projects about my life the power to make me a victim again, or the power to provide a platform where victim blaming is OK.”

First announced in 2015, with Jennifer Lawrence mooted as a possible star, the script for the Hearst film was written by biopic masters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (The People vs. OJ Simpson, Ed Wood, Man on the Moon) alongside Mangold. Nina Jacobsen and Brad Simpson of Colorforce were to produce alongside Mangold.

Back in September, a rival project titled American Woman was announced, with Downsizing‘s Hong Chau in talks to play the woman who took care of kidnapped newspaper heiress Hearst. Chau would play Jenny Shimada, “a 25-year-old former radical on the run for an act of violence against the American government who agrees to care for three younger fugitives delivered to her by an individual from her former life.” Hearst is one of the fugitives and is now a celebrity after becoming one of the revolutionaries. American Woman is being produced by Killer Films with Semi Chellas (Mad Men producer) writing and directing.

As for Mangold, he still has the New York cop thriller The Force in development, based on the novel by Don Winslow, as well as the family film Crenshaw based on Katherine Applegate’s children’s book about a giant imaginary cat. This is not the first time that Fox has scrapped a Mangold film close to production, having done the same for his planned adaptation of John D. MacDonald’s mystery thriller Deep Blue Goodbye in 2015 after star Christian Bale received a knee injury and was unable to film.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)