James Mangold and Scott Frank, the director/writer team behind Logan, will reunite for 20th Century Fox's The Force. The adaptation of Don Winslow's 2017 novel has been percolating for awhile now with Mangold at the head. Legendary writer David Mamet came aboard last year to write a script draft.
No less an authority than Stephen King described Winslow's The Force as "The Godfather with cops." The story revolves around Denny Malone, an NYPD officer leading an elite unit waging war on crime. After Malone and his crew steal millions following a huge heroin bust, the once-good cop finds himself trying to survive while enemies on all sides close in. The story plays out against a backdrop of simmering racial tension.
As reported by Deadline, Logan writer Scott Frank has been brought in to assist James Mangold in bringing The Force to the screen. Mangold and Frank shared an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for Logan, together with Michael Green. The film ultimately lost the prize to James Ivory for Call Me By Your Name. Fox originally paid six figures for rights to Winslow's book.
Fox must have supreme faith in the team of Mangold and Frank after what they delivered on Logan. The superhero movie, the swan song for Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, broke barriers with its gritty feel and R-rated violence. Despite the R rating, the movie grossed $616 million worldwide. The film received further validation by scoring the first ever screenplay nomination for a superhero comic book movie. Though superficially a continuation of the X-Men franchise, Logan turned out to be closer in spirit to a classic Western. Its story of a beaten man rising up to embrace being a hero could have come straight from a 1950s film directed by George Stevens or John Ford. Indeed, Frank later proved himself to be a true Western devotee with his Netflix series Godless.
The Force sees Mangold and Frank turning to a genre - the crime film - that has traditionally received a lot more awards love than superhero movies. The Force's story of corrupt cops has received comparisons to the works of Sidney Lumet, particularly his Serpico and Prince of the City, as well as Martin Scorsese's The Departed. Frank already has plenty of experience in the crime genre, having written the Elmore Leonard adaptations Out of Sight and Get Shorty. It's plain to see what Fox is aiming for here: a gritty crime film in the classic Hollywood tradition. We'll find out if Mangold and Frank can deliver again.
- The Force (2019) release date: