EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has set Scott Frank to rewrite The Force, the adaptation of the bestselling NYPD corrupt cop thriller novel by Don Winslow. James Mangold has been developing to direct, and this reunites him with Frank after they shared a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination with Michael Green for Logan, Hugh Jackman’s farewell to his signature X-Men character Wolverine. Scott Free’s Ridley Scott, The Story Factory’s Shane Salerno and Kevin Walsh are producing The Force.
The most recent draft of The Force was done by David Mamet.
Turning the novel into a film has been high priority for Fox since it acquired the book for seven-figures in fall of 2016, before it even had a title. The Force was one of the most acclaimed novels of 2017 for HarperCollins’ imprint William Morrow and it is about to be published in paperback.
The novel reads like a Sidney Lumet movie, and is a close cousin to police-corruption films Serpico, Prince of the City and The Departed and tells the story of a corrupt detective in the NYPD’s most elite crime-fighting unit. Sgt. Denny Malone is forced to choose between his family, his partners and his life. To stop the city’s long-simmering racial tensions from exploding, he must reconcile the idealistic guardian he still views himself to be with the corrupt cop he’s become. He then finds himself attacked on all sides: Harlem drug gangs, the mob he’s in bed with, the brother cops he’s about to destroy, the mayor’s office who fears what he knows and who he can implicate, the relentless federal investigators who want to put him behind bars but, most of all, his own demons.
There is a strong male lead role here in the corrupt crime fighter, and several A-list actors are in the mix. Steve Asbell has been overseeing for Fox.
Frank, whose credits include Out of Sight, Get Shorty, Minority Report, Marley & Me and numerous others, is known as a strong closer, a writer who makes a script ready for production. This could make it interesting for Fox and Mangold, who are separately developing a period drama about the race for dominance between Ford and Ferrari at the 1966 Le Mans World Championship. That film has Matt Damon circling to play legendary Mustang designer Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale to play his driver Ken Miles, who were under orders from Henry Ford II to build the world’s fastest car. Auto racing movies have been a mixed bag at the box office, but there is an element of The Right Stuff to the source material, which Fox has been trying to get right for years.
Frank is repped by CAA.