The man best known for directing Walk the Line, one of the great biopics in recent memory, might now helm a film about New York Jets quarterback legend and Hall of Famer Joe Namath. James Mangold is in talks to direct Namath’s story for Fox 2000, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If he signs on to the project, he will reunite with his 3:10 to Yuma screenwriters Michael Brandt and Derek Haas.
Namath jumped back into the pop culture lexicon at the Super Bowl earlier this year, when he wore a flamboyant fur coat during a pre-game ceremony. However, he is a name that’s well known beyond circles of NFL fans. Nicknamed “Broadway Joe,” Namath is a beloved figure in New York sports history, spending much of his professional career with the New York Jets, where he led the team to a Super Bowl victory in 1969. Beyond his colourful performance on the field, he had a reputation for being a happy-go-lucky guy off the field. After his career, Namath was a commentator for Monday Night Football and made guest appearances in many films and TV shows.
Like Johnny Cash, the subject of Mangold’s Oscar-winning biopic Walk the Line, Namath also struggled with alcoholism. However, despite this darker backstory, the pro athlete was a full-blown celebrity and one of the first major stars from the NFL to make an impact in the social consciousness. It will definitely be interesting to see which aspects of his life this biopic focuses on most: the prolific career and playboy attitude he had as a football player, or his struggles with drinking.
No actors are currently attached to the project, but considering that Mangold directed Angelina Jolie and Reese Witherspoon to Oscar wins, as well as Joaquin Phoenix to a nomination, the film should attract a lot of attention around the industry if Mangold ends up signing on.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter