Cop Land hit theaters in 1997, a highly critically acclaimed film about police corruption, directed by James Mangold and starring Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro.
Twenty-three years later, Mangold is looking back at his film in the wake of the George Floyd death and the protests surrounding it and wishes he had taken a stand and took a harsher slant toward the police corruption.
The Weinstein Brothers forced Cop Land changes
The Weinstein Brothers produced Cop Land and forced Mangold to make changes to the script.
Mangold posted on Twitter that his movie should have had a stronger message, one that resonates with what people are seeing happening on the streets today.
“My script, about a cult-like suburban town of commuting white cops was premised on the idea that many NYPD didn’t live in the 5 boroughs anymore.”
However, Mangold said the Weinstein Brothers made him change that because they said it was “impossible.”
The brothers pointed out a residency requirement that insisted that police officers lived in the areas they protected. Mangold said he knows NYPD officers who got around this because he grew up in a suburban white town full of all city first responders.
1/ Thinking about making COP LAND (25 yrs ago). My script, about a cult-like suburban town of commuting white cops was premised on the idea that many NYPD didn't live in the 5 boroughs anymore, a conceit the Weinsteins (my studio, close w/ NYPD brass) insisted was impossible. pic.twitter.com/Jh5P1KpZLZ
— Mangold (@mang0ld) May 31, 2020
Mangold explained in his posts that NYPD officers would use addresses like it’s apartments and their mom’s houses where they got their mail and paychecks while also having summer homes.
Mangold said the “summer homes in the burbs” is where the officers live.
The Weinstein’s and Miramax made Mangold create a new opening narration by De Niro that explained the officers lived where they protected.
Mangold said it was his first movie, so he went along with it because the message he wanted to present was urban police forces turning into organized crime groups.
He regrets that.
James Mangold takes a stand
Mangold went on to say that it isn’t easy being a “good cop,” and the world needs more good cops.
“When cops don’t live in a place they protect, they’re not protecting their community. The people in the city r devalued.”
Mangold said that these officers want to contain the problems, so they don’t leak to their suburbs and their real homes.
He went on to say that this is a problem because police officers should be able to live where they want to, but when they are policing a community where they don’t live, they don’t have a “vested interest” in that community.
“Commuting cops are 9-5 soldiers in a land that is not their own,” Mangold wrote. “They do not have vested interest in embracing the place they patrol, rather, their interest in in “containing” it (sic). This produces quiet pernicious and systemic racism.”
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