Fox Cancels James Mangold’s Patty Hearst Biopic

     January 12, 2018


Logan director James Mangold’s project has just been scrapped. The filmmaker had been gearing up to make a biopic based on the life of kidnapping victim Patty Hearst, but THR reports that 20th Century Fox has now scrapped the movie altogether, largely due to Hearst’s complaints about the project.

The film was based on author Jeffrey Toobin’s unauthorized book American Heiress, which recounted how Hearst was kidnapped in the mid 1970s by the Symbionese Liberation Army and transitioned “from hostage to warrior” during a two-year period. The heiress was rescued when she was caught on tape participating in armed bank robberies with her captors. Hearst maintained that she was acting under the threat of death and had been brainwashed, and after a lively trial, she ended up serving 22 months in jail for armed robbery.


Image via 20th Century Fox

The decision to cancel Mangold’s film comes on the heels of Hearst releasing a statement saying she was inspired by Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globes and adding that Toobin’s book “romanticizes” her rape and torture:

“I am further 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.”

CNN is producing a docuseries about the ordeal called The Radical Story of Patty Hearst which has yet to be scuttled, but Fox has decided not to move forward with this project following Hearst’s statement.

Elle Fanning had been attached to play the heiress in the film, and it was eyeing a spring start-date as Mangold’s Logan follow-up. The filmmaker has a number of other movies in the works, from the cop drama The Force to the children’s book adaptation Crenshaw, so it’ll be interesting to see what he tackles next.

Another project he may not be doing anymore is the X-24 spinoff focusing on Dafne Keene’s character from Logan. In the wake of Fox’s sale to Disney, reports swirled that that project is now on hold and may not happen anymore. Indeed, there are a lot of questions still unanswered as the long transition process is about to begin, and one wonders if the Disney deal had anything to do with Fox canceling this Patty Hearst movie.

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