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James Mangold will direct a Buster Keaton biopic movie

Nearly 100 years ago, Buster Keaton was well on his way to becoming the biggest Hollywood star during the silent film period. Keaton is not as widely known by modern movie fans, but that may change as his life story is about to become the subject of a major motion picture. Deadline is reporting that James Mangold has been signed by 20th Century Studios to direct and produce a Buster Keaton biopic based upon Marion Meade’s book Buster Keaton: Cut to the Chase.

In his heyday, Keaton was an unparalleled actor and director who didn’t shy away from performing dangerous stunts in his own films. He was also a gifted comedic performer. During the mid-1920s, Keaton’s best-known films included The Navigator, Sherlock Jr., Seven Chances, The Cameraman, The General, and Steamboat Bill, Jr.

Keaton’s career went into a steep decline during the beginning of the “talkie era.” But the comedian eventually adjusted and had a career resurgence, even though he never regained the same box office appeal of his youth. One of his last major film appearances was in Billy Wilder’s noir classic Sunset Boulevard.

Buster Keaton in The General.

Mangold is currently wrapping up his work on Indiana Jones 5, with Harrison Ford in the lead for the final time. Mangold’s previous credits include Walk the Line, Logan, Ford v Ferrari, and 3:10 to Yuma. The new Buster Keaton film will be made under Mangold’s current first-look deal with Disney and 20th Century Studios.

According to Deadline, this Keaton biopic is “a top priority” for 20th Century Studios. While there are currently no writers attached to adapt Meade’s books, meetings with scribes are reportedly already underway.

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