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Fox Kills Patricia Hearst Biopic After She Blasts Project

Variety logo Variety 12/01/2018 Dave McNary
a close up of person © Provided by Variety Fox has decided to ditch its untitled Patricia Hearst biopic after she denounced the project.

“Twentieth Century Fox Film and its production partners have decided to cancel the studio’s planned project based on the book ‘American Heiress,'” a spokesperson for the studio said.

The move came a few hours after Hearst had issued a strong denunciation of both the Fox movie biopic and a CNN documentary series about her 1974 kidnapping. She blasted author Jeffrey Toobin, whose unauthorized 2016 biography “American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst” was being turned into the feature film and who is an executive producer of CNN’s “The Radical Story of Patty Hearst.”

“Jeffery Toobin’s unauthorized book, ‘American Heiress,’ which cites one of my kidnappers as its main source, romanticizes my rape and torture and calls my abduction a ‘rollicking adventure,’” she said in a statement released by her daughter Lydia Hearst’s spokesperson.

The move also comes less than a month after Disney reached a deal to buy the movie studio and other 21st Century Fox assets as part of a $52 billion transaction.

James Mangold was attached to direct the untitled adaptation of Toobin’s best-selling book about Hearst’s 1974 kidnapping by the Symbionese Liberation Army, and re-emergence as a bank robber and member of the left-wing terrorist group. Hearst captured the world’s attention when she was caught on tape participating in armed bank robberies and declared her allegiance to the SLA.

Her arrest and trial sparked a media frenzy. Hearst, who claimed she was brainwashed, was captured after 18 months on the run and served 22 months in prison. Yahya Abdul-Mateen was cast this week as the SLA leader Donald DeFreeze, who was also known as Cinque Mtume and Field Marshal Cinque. DeFreeze and five other SLA members died in May of 1974, following a shootout with the Los Angeles Police Department.

The six-part CNN original series, “The Radical Story of Patty Hearst,” is set for Feb. 11 and includes interviews with Bill Harris, who was part of the SLA, and Steven Weed, who witnessed the abduction.

CNN’s planned weekly podcast, “Patty Has a Gun: The Life and Crimes of Patricia Hearst,” is set to be co-hosted by Toobin and CNN’s Brian Stelter, starting Jan. 26 on iTunes.

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