It's been quite a while since we had an update on James Mangold's long-gestating adaptation of Don Winslow's The Force, but today brings us an intriguing bit of news: according to Deadline, Mangold's film will be headlined by Matt Damon, who recently starred in the director's Oscar-nominated Ford V. Ferrari. This takes a bit of the surprise out of Damon's casting, but not all of it.
"Damon is attached to play Denny Malone, a NYPD detective who runs an elite crime fighting squad, but bends the law so often that he loses the line between good and evil and becomes ensnared in a pending corruption scandal. To stop the city’s long-simmering racial tensions from exploding, he must reconcile the idealistic guardian he still views himself to be, with the corrupt cop he’s become. He under siege from all sides: Harlem drug gangs, the mob he’s in bed with, the brother cops he’s about to destroy, the mayor’s office who fears what he knows and who he can implicate, the federal investigators who want to put him behind bars. But most of all, he struggles with the Faustian bargain on the table that will require him to testify against his loyal but dirty team, weighing loyalty to them over his own family."
In Winslow's novel, Denny Malone is basically Vic Mackie from The Shield: enormously flawed, possessed of a wild, violent temper, consistently in over his head but also extremely talented at extricating himself from whatever jams he manages to get himself into. Gotta admit I pictured many people as Denny Malone while reading Winslow's novel, but Damon certainly wasn't one of 'em (I was thinking more along the lines of a beefed-up Colin Farrell, or a Jon Bernthal - someone a little rougher around the edges than Damon), but that isn't to say he won't knock this material outta the park. If nothing else, it'll be interesting to see him play an even sleazier version of the kind of character he played in Scorsese's The Departed.
Anyway, The Force is an outstanding novel - seriously, go buy and read it right now if you haven't already, especially if crime thrillers are your kinda thing - and with the talent they're bringing to bear on this adaptation there's good reason to believe the movie will be pretty damn great, too. We're looking forward to learning more about this one, and will keep you informed as further updates roll in. Stay tuned.