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Exclusive: James Mangold Circling Jake Gyllenhall's Namath

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | April 13, 2010 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | April 13, 2010 |

James Mangold has quietly worked his way up the Hollywood A-list in recent years. He started out strong, with Cop Land and Girl, Interrupted, hit a couple of snags (Kate and Leopold, Identity, a great movie until the disastrous ending), and then picked up steam again with Walk the Line and 3:10 to Yuma, the latter of which may be the pinnacle of the man’s career. It if is, he’ll have nothing to be ashamed of. Mangold is back in theaters this summer, helming the Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz action-comedy Knight and Day (which I’ve got a summer movie boner for), and the list of projects on his plate, which already includes a feature based on the documentary Murderball and a Dusty Springfield biopic, is growing.

You can add Namath to that growing plate, so says The Hollywood Cog. We haven’t heard much about Namath in a couple of years — not since Jake Gyllenhaal was cast. I guess they were trying to give him a few more years to age into the role (or beef up, following The Prince of Persia). He’s matured some, and the idea of him playing Joe Namath isn’t as laughable as it once was (although, it’s still plenty fucking ludicrous — he’s got the Broadway part right, though. Amright?). Now, the project is finally finding some traction, although at this point, Universal Pictures is looking to take another pass at David Hollander’s script before it moves into production.

Where that puts it in Mangold’s queue is an open question — he doesn’t have a go project at the time, and once Gyllenhall finishes filming Source Code for Duncan Jones, he’s got nothing else ready for lensing yet, either. Moreover, the fact that Mangold just came aboard Namath in recent weeks (after it stalled for two years) suggests that it could be warming up for production soon.

Namath will be a biopic about Broadway Joe Namath, the Beaver Falls, PA kid who would later become the first “rock star” of the NFL. He was a cultural figure in the ’60s, helped to merge the AFL with the NFL by defeating the Baltimore Colts, became the first real commercial star of the NFL (paving the way for round-the-clock Peyton Manning commercials), and of course, got ridiculously drunk and tried to make out with Suzy Kolber on national TV. He did this all despite having knees so bad that doctors wouldn’t clear him to go to Vietnam. And now Mark Sanchez is carrying that man’s jock legacy — come on, Sanchez. Nut up. Learn to stand in the pocket, take a hit, drink a fucking beer, and make an inappropriate pass at a female like a real man.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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