James Mangold has a knack for reteaming with his best leading men to phenomenal results. Working with Hugh Jackman on The Wolverine paved the way for Logan, one of the finest superhero films ever produced, and 3:10 to Yuma in turn led to Mangold and Christian Bale reteaming for Ford v Ferrari, a slick drama for adults that just got nominated for the Oscars’ Best Picture. That leaves us intrigued about the possibility of his next project: a Don Winslow adaptation, The Force, that would pair him again with the Ford v Ferrari co-lead, Matt Damon.
News of the project came out of Deadline Wednesday, which reported that Mangold and Damon have set the project up at 20th Century Studios (formerly 20th Century Fox). This is not totally surprising as Mangold has strong roots at the studio from before the Disney acquisition, making both Wolverine pictures and Ford v Ferrari there. Additionally, he’s been pursuing an adaptation of The Force and its seedy vision of the New York Police Department for years. He first signed onto the project in 2017, agreeing to rewrite a David Mamet script with his writing partner on Logan, Scott Frank.
Apparently inspired by crime drama filmmakers like Sidney Lumet, Mangold is returning to themes of corrupt law enforcement that informed his second film, 1997’s Cop Land. The Force will also put Damon back in familiar territory as he plays dirty cop Denny Malone. Malone is an NYPD detective and leader of an elite crime fighting squad, and still views himself as a hero even after he’s long made deals with the mob. When the film opens, he finds himself at the center of a corruption scandal. Already the center of a media maelstrom, if he names names, he could implicate everyone from loyal subordinates to the mayor’s office in city hall.
It is currently unclear if The Force will be Mangold’s next direct feature or if the Bob Dylan biopic he’s developing at Searchlight Pictures (formerly Fox Searchlight) will take precedence. That too is slightly familiar ground after the Oscar winning Walk the Line, but that might be par for the course to Mangold who has cast Timothée Chalamet as Dylan. That film is titled Going Electric.