It doesn’t seem like it, but it has been more than four decades since the Patty Hearst saga took America by storm. To this generation, the name Patty Hearst has little significance, if any at all. For those of us who were old enough to watch television, we remember the name vividly. In fact, the name Patricia Campbell Hearst is eternally embedded in our psyches. Patty was the granddaughter of publishing and media mogul William Randolph Hearst.
While she was a student at the University of California at Berkeley, Patty was kidnapped, but her kidnapping was only the beginning. She was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army, which she actually joined after spending so much time with her captors that she begins to sympathize with them. It was actually this case that made Stockholm Syndrome a household term. She was actually convicted of a bank robbery; however, her sentence would be commuted by President Jimmy Carter and the conviction would later be pardoned by President Bill Clinton.
While this story captured the minds of millions for years, there is still so much that we simply don’t know about the kidnapping and relationship that was developed between Hearst and her captors. What we do know is that director, James Mangold (Logan) will be teaming up with the talented and beautiful Elle Fanning to bring the Patty Hearst story to the big screen.
According to several sources, Mangold and Fanning are joining forces to create this biopic, which has yet to be titled. As far as the public knows, Patty Hearst is the first and only billionaire heiress to be kidnapped and then join forces with her kidnappers.
It will be interesting to see how much of the unknown will be rooted out and laid bare in this biopic. Initially, there was so much interference ran by the powers that be that the truth never really found the light of day. How long was Hearst a captor before she became a willing participant in the terrorist activity of the Symbionese Liberation Army? What tactics were used to condition her mind to sympathize with their cause? Was her participation solely for survival? None of these questions have been answered with any clarity, but hopefully, the writers of this biopic have conducted adequate research to bring an advanced story to the public.
There have been books and media specials talking about the story and the biopic has to push things beyond what has already been covered. This biopic will be an adaptation of American Heiress, a book written by John Toobin. Mangold has teamed with Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski to write the adaptation and the project will reunite Mangold with 20th Century Fox via the Fox 2000 label.
The biopic will trace the time just before Patty’s abduction through her two-year detainment during the mid-1970s as it attempts to explain how Patty was transformed from a victim (hostage) to a warrior and convicted criminal. Elle Fanning has proven that she is every bit as talented as her older sister Dakota, and this opportunity should provide an even greater opportunity for her to spread her wings.