Fox 2000 has acquired the film rights to Jeffery Toobin’s unreleased and as-yet-untitled book about Patty Hearst, the heiress to the Hearst fortune who was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974 and brainwashed into becoming a bank robber.
The writing team behind last year’s Big Eyes, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, has been tapped to adapt Toobin’s manuscript; Toobin also worked with Alexander and Karaszweski on American Crime Story, the upcoming companion piece to Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story which focuses on the murder trial of O.J. Simpson. Jennifer Lawrence is reportedly being considered for the role, because Jennifer Lawrence is always being considered for every role.
Patty Hearst, the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, was kidnapped at the age of 19 from her Berkley apartment by members of the SLA, an urban guerilla group that considered itself a vanguard army. On April 3rd, 1974, two months after she was abducted, Hearst announced on an audiotape that she had joined the SLA and assumed the name “Tania.” Days later, Hearst was photographed robbing a San Francisco bank; after being involved with several more SLA crimes, Hearst was arrested in September 1975. At the trial, Hearst’s attorneys argued that she was brainwashed into joining the group. On March 20, 1976, Hearst was convicted of bank robbery and using a firearm in a felony and was sentenced to 35 years. President Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence to 22 months, and President Clinton pardoned her in 2001.
This will not be the first movie about Patty Hearst to hit the silver screen; 1988’s Patty Hearst, directed by sleaze-noir auteur Paul Schrader, depicted Hearst’s abduction and transformation into a member of the SLA. Here’s what Siskel and Ebert had to say about Schrader’s film at the time:
Toobin’s book is set to be released sometime in 2016.