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Mangold, Col set to Cash in with biopic

Filmmaker to ink with scribe Dennis

Sony Pictures Entertainment will walk the line — the one that divides Johnny Cash: part American music icon, part tortured, ultimately triumphant Everyman.

SPE’s Columbia Pictures has inked a deal with James Mangold (“Cop Land,” “Girl, Interrupted”) to co-scribe and helm “Cash,” a biopic about the musician’s tumultuous life and profound effect on American music.

Mangold will pair with scribe Gill Dennis (“Riders of the Purple Sage”) on the “Cash” script.

Cathy Konrad’s Col-based Konrad Pictures will produce with James Keach’s Catfish Prods.

“What a thrill it is to be back in business with Jim,” Col chairman Amy Pascal said of Mangold. “He did such a great job for us on ‘Girl, Interrupted.’ That he’s willing to commit to two more pictures with us is great news.”

The writer-helmer is also attached to Col’s “The Rich Part of Life” (Daily Variety, Feb. 10).

“Music aside, it was important to ask, ‘Is the story a dramatic story?’ ” explained Konrad of her decision to go with the pic.

Mangold added, “(Cash) lived such a bold life, embracing everything in the ’60s. He recorded with Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger and at the Grand Ole Opry. He was never an easy package to sell. He was always a brand new thing.”

Keach, whose friendship with Cash Konrad credits as the starting point of the project, described the biopic’s storyline as “every man who has descended into hell and who found redemption.” In Cash’s case, Keach said, it came “in the love of a woman, in his music and in the love of his fans.”

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