James Mangold Might Direct Gyllenhaal's Joe Namath Biopic
Back in 2007, it was announced that Jake Gyllenhaal would play football quarterback Joe Namath in a feature film about his life that was being put together. Jump to today and, well, no progress has been made. However, Pajiba says they've heard that James Mangold (of Kate & Leopold, Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma, Knight & Day) may have just landed this directing gig, which makes them (and us) wonder if Universal may actually be trying to get this into production as Gyllenhaal's next big film following Duncan Jones' Source Code (which he is already shooting). It all makes sense, and I won't be surprised if this actually happens.
The project was originally setup with David Hollander ("Heartland", "The Cleaner") attached to write the screenplay. Namath himself approved of the movie after a "strong pitch" from Hollander and a belief that the "athletic" Gyllenhaal was the right actor to play him. This is an approval that the studio doesn't want to let go of, which is probably why they're keeping Gyllenhaal out in front while moving forward. Universal does want to take another pass at David Hollander's script before it moves into production, though, and knowing them this means it could probably get shelved just as quickly, especially if the budget is too high.
Joe Namath was one of the first football players to achieve a "rock star" status in the NFL. This biopic will tell the story of how the golden-armed kid from Beaver Falls, PA became "Broadway Joe," the New York Jets quarterback who became a '60s cultural figure. "Most of the stuff you saw in Forest Gump, Joe lived through all of it," producer and friend Jimmy Walsh said about Namath and his life. Namath played for 11 years with the New York Jets, from 1965 to 1976, and was the first to pass more than 4,000 yards one season. You can read up on all of his stats on his biography at Pro Football Hall of Fame. We'll let you know what happens.