James Mangold in Talks to Direct Joe Namath Biopic

5:19 PM PST 05/28/2014 by Pamela McClintock
AP Images

UPDATED: The charismatic football legend is one of the most beloved figures in New York sports history.

James Mangold -- director of the acclaimed Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line -- is in early talks to bring the life and times of legendary football quarterback Joe Namath to the big screen for Fox 2000, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

The biopic would reteam Mangold and Elizabeth Gabler's Fox 2000, home studio of Walk the Line. It also could reteam the filmmaker with his 3:10 to Yuma screenwriters Michael Brandt and Derek Haas. Producers Andrew Lazar and Cathy Konrad, Mangold's partner at Tree Line Films, would head up the project.

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Namath is one of the most revered figures in New York sports history, having spent most of his career with the New York Jets in the 1960s and 1970s after playing college football at the University of Alabama for coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. He's also one of the most colorful. Known for wearing fur coats on the sidelines (a practice that was later banned), the rifle-armed quarterback celebrated winning the Super Bowl in a huge upset by opening Bachelors III, a popular bar on New York City's Upper East Side.

Upon his retirement from football in 1977, the likable and widely recognizable Namath made guest appearances on numerous television shows and starred in several films. On the sports side, the Hall of Famer was a commentator for ABC's Monday Night Football.

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Namath was a notorious party boy and womanizer, hence the nickname "Broadway Joe." In early 2004, Namath checked himself into rehab after an infamous incident in which he told ESPN interviewer Suzy Kolber during live coverage of a Jets game, "I want to kiss you. I couldn't care less about the team struggling."

Today, the 70-year-old quarterback lives in Florida.

Fox declined to comment on the project.

Mangold, born in New York City, is well-known on the Fox lot, where he also directed The Wolverine and Knight & Day. In 2005, Walk the Line earned five Oscar nominations and a best actress win for Reese Witherspoon.

Mangold is repped by WME and Management 360.

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