James Mangold to Direct a Patty Hearst Biopic Based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book “American Heiress”

For the third time, a filmmaker is going to tackle the 1974 Patty Hearst kidnapping and her subsequent transformation from a victim to a sympathizer and the event leading up to her capture and the attention-grabbing court case.

james mangold
Mangold at the San Diego Comic-Con to promote The Wolverine, 2013. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

This time,  James Mangold following up on “Logan“, a 2017 sci-fi which has grossed $616.8 million globally will direct the Hearst biopic based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book “American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes, and Trial of Patty Hearst. ”

Mangold will not only direct the film but will produce it with Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson.  Larry Karaszewski, Scott Alexander, and Mangold co-wrote the screenplay.

Patty Hearst mug shot
Patty Hearst mug shot by Unknown Public Domain

Elle Fanning, Dakota Fanning’s younger sister, is said to play the title role. Interestingly enough, Elle at 19-year-old actress is the same age Hearst was when she was abducted from her Berkeley apartment by the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), an American left-wing revolutionary organization active between 1973 and 1975.

Hearst, the grand-daughter of 19th-century media mogul William Randolph Hears, is believed to have endured weeks of psychological torture under the hands of the SLA before partaking in an armed robbery under the pseudonym Tania.  She is most closely associated with the term “Stockholm Syndrome,” a condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity. 

Following her capture and the dismantlement of the SLA, Hearst was sentenced to a seven-year jail term. After serving only two years of that seven in jail, President Carter commuted her sentence and gave her back her freedom, but it was Bill Clinton who famously fully pardoned her on the last day of his presidency, January 20, 2001.

Fanning’s recent movie credits include “20th Century Women” and “The Beguiled.” She is represented by WME, Echo Lake Entertainment, and Slate PR.

James Mangold recently directed “Logan” and “The Wolverine,” and is serving as an executive producer on the critically acclaimed and commercial success “The Greatest Showman,” starring Hugh Jackman. According to IMBD, he is represented by Management 360, WME and Block-Korenbrot Public Relations.

No shooting date has been set yet neither has a final title been chosen.

The previous movies made about the Patty Hearst kidnapping are Patty Hearst (1988) Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst (2004).

The news was first reported by Variety.

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