20th Century Fox is moving forward with its adaptation of the Don Winslow novel The Force, bringing aboard Scott Frank to rewrite the adapted screenplay. The script was first worked on by David Mamet, who was attached last June, when James Mangold came aboard to direct. This move reunites Scott Frank and James Mangold, who both received an Oscar nomination for their adapted screenplay for Logan, along with Michael Green, which Mangold directed.
This adaptation is said to be a high priority for the studio, which purchased the rights to Don Winslow's book back in 2016 in a whopping seven-figure deal, before it was published and even before it had a proper title. The book was published in June 2017 by William Morrow and was named as one of the best books of the year by more than 60 publications, including The New York Times, National Public Radio, Barnes & Noble and Publisher's Weekly. Casting hasn't gotten under way yet, but the lead character of NYPD cop Denny Malone will likely be quite the coveted role.
The story centers on Sgt. Denny Malone, a cop who runs the most elite crime-fighting unit in the NYPD, who is also one of the city's most corrupt cops. When simmering racial tensions start boiling over, Malone must reconcile the idealistic cop he still thinks he is, with his own corrupt nature, while contending with ruthless Harlem drug gangs, the mafia leaders he has crooked ties to, the cops who he's about to throw under the bus, the mayor's office and a team of federal agents trying to take him down.
The Force has been given plenty of high praise with Stephen King comparing it to The Godfather, "but with cops," while Jack Reacher author Lee Child has called it, "probably the best cop novel ever written." The book was also released on paperback earlier this week. Just after James Mangold was attached to direct last summer, 20th Century Fox handed out a March 1, 2019 release date for The Force, which puts it up against Lionsgate's Chaos Walking and Universal's How to Train Your Dragon 3. However, with no production schedule announced, it's possible this release date could be delayed.
While there have been no cast members attached yet, this new report from Deadline claims there are a number of A-list stars in the mix to play Denny Malone. Ridley Scott is producing alongside The Story Factory's Shane Salerno and Kevin Walsh. Ridley Scott is actually attached to direct another Don Winslow adaptation, The Cartel, from an adapted screenplay by Shane Salerno, who previously adapted Winslow's Savages. Scott Frank is among the most respected screenwriters in Hollywood, who has a penchant as a "closer," a writer who gets a script ready for production. Mangold is also developing another project for 20th Century Fox about the rivalry between Ford and Ferrari that culmiated at the 1966 LeMans race, with Matt Damon attached to play auto designer Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale to play driver Ken Miles. There is no indication as to whether The Force or this racing project will move forward first.