Leonardo DiCaprio To Wear Viking Horns In Mel Gibson-Directed Drama

Norse history is going to hit in a big way in 2011. First and foremost, there’s “Thor,” based on the Marvel comic inspired by Norse mythology. And if Wikipedia is correct (unlikely), there’s a chance of a long-ago-rumored live-action “Hagar the Horrible” movie set for release that year. Finally, a drama about Vikings from director Mel Gibson and producer Graham King (“The Departed”) is set to begin shooting next fall, meaning it will probably be in theaters at some time the following year.

According to Variety, Viking history enthusiast Leonardo DiCaprio will star in the untitled film, which is currently being scripted by William Monahan (both of whom also had a hand in “The Departed”). The plot has not been revealed, but we can presume this will be a bloody action epic, similar to Gibson’s “Braveheart.” Perhaps there will also be some sort of focus on the Christianization of Scandinavia during the Viking Age, given Gibson’s past success with “The Passion of the Christ.”

The Vikings are infamous for their pillaging, plundering, etc., though it would be nice to see them get their due credit in the film for being great explorers rather than mere savages bent on raiding and raping. Will we see Leo participating in the discovery of America with/as Leif Erikson? Or will this be more of a warrior’s tale, a la “Beowulf” and its many descendants, including “The 13th Warrior”?

Either way, it’ll be nice to see the actor with long hair, sailing in one of those iconic longships with the dragon-head bows. Maybe re-unite him with Kate Winslet as badass Viking woman. And might I suggest casting Kevin Dillon in a role as a nod to his character’s fake TV series “Viking Quest” in “Entourage”?

It’s been a long time since Hollywood made a really good movie about the Vikings, the best being 1958’s “The Vikings,” starring Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Ernest Borgnine and Janet Leigh. Fortunately we can expect great things from the producer, screenwriter and star of “The Departed.” Hopefully Gibson still has another classical historical epic in him, too.

What do you think of Gibson’s historical conquests as a director? Do you wish he’d just get back to acting in “Lethal Weapon” and the occasional comedy already? What about DiCaprio, do you buy him as a viking?