Steven Spielberg has decided to step away from directing the fifth “Indiana Jones” movie with Harrison Ford (slated for release next summer). Part of the reason is that Spielberg wants to pass the baton to the next generation. But Spielberg is also anticipating a busy year ahead – making sure his version of the classic musical “West Side Story” (out this Christmas) is as good as it can possibly be.
Spielberg did work on “Ready Player One” and “The Post” simultaneously in 2017 – to great success. But I’m not sure he wants to go through that again. He can’t give the kind of care and devotion to both powerhouse projects of “Indy 5” and “WSS” at the same time.
As of this publication, James Mangold is the frontrunner to direct “Indiana Jones 5”, but he has not yet been confirmed. Most recently, Mangold served as a producer on the latest version of “The Call of the Wild”, starring Ford.
And earlier this month, Mangold attended the Oscars as a nominee for the second time as a producer of Best Picture nominee “Ford v. Ferrari”, which he also directed.
I think Mangold is capable and ready to take-on one of the biggest movies of his career. You may think that “Indy 5” is automatically the biggest movie Mangold has ever helmed. But when you consider what he’s directed over the past 25 years, it may not be the case.
Following “Heavy” and “Cop Land” in the mid-‘90s, Mangold’s next film was the 1999 drama “Girl, Interrupted”, which earned Angelina Jolie the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. He followed that up with 2001’s “Kate & Leopold”. Sting wrote a Best Original Song Oscar nominee, and Hugh Jackman received his first Golden Globe nom.
After the 2003 thriller “Identity”, Mangold directed the Johnny Cash & June Carter biopic “Walk the Line” (2005). It won 3 Golden Globes and took Joaquin Phoenix & Reese Witherspoon to the Oscars, with Witherspoon winning Best Actress.
Mangold then directed the critically acclaimed remake of “3:10 to Yuma” (2007) and the underrated Tom Cruise & Cameron Diaz action comedy “Knight and Day” (2010) before re-teaming with Jackman on 2013’s “The Wolverine”. The bullet train sequence is a highlight of the “X-Men” action franchise.
2017’s “Logan” was the grand finale for Jackman’s iconic character, and Mangold was there to help make it happen. He earned a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination with co-writers Scott Frank and Michael Green.
And with “Ford v. Ferrari”, Mangold told an inspiring story in a classic style to tremendous critical and box office success. Besides its Best Picture nom, “Ford” was nominated for three more Oscars, winning two of them: Film Editing and Sound Editing. Mangold was thanked profusely in both speeches.
If he takes-on “Indy 5”, I think Mangold is ready. If he chooses a different project – in whatever genre it may be – it should be a must-see.