Leonardo DiCaprio’s apparent quest to gobble up every available big Hollywood biopic role like so much juicy Oscar bait continues apace with the news that Warner Bros. has purchased the rights to A. Scott Berg’s Woodrow Wilson biography, the succinctly titled “Wilson,” with an eye to have the actor star as America’s 28th president. The true-life tome just hit shelves earlier this month, but the studio hasn’t wasted any time in grabbing the book, as Deadline Hollywood reports that DiCaprio’s interest in the biography (which he will produce through his Appian Way banner) spread earlier this week at, of all things, a book party for the actual title in question.
“Wilson” apparently “humanizes” the president and casts him as a “great forgotten” leader. A two-termer, Wilson was a progressive prez who is most often remembered for his snappy reelection slogan, “He kept us out of war.” Wilson, of course, had to jettison that nifty little tagline in 1917, when he finally asked Congress to declare war on the German empire, thus entering the U.S. into World War I. And now he might get his own Leonardo DiCaprio-starring biopic!
It’s not the first time that Warners has grabbed the rights to a true-life tale with the intent to have DiCaprio star (not by a long shot) – back in August of 2011, they bought Graham Moore’s “The Imitation Game” script, based on the Alan Turing biography “The Enigma,” written by Andrew Hodges. That deal eventually fell through, and another production company is now financing the project, with Benedict Cumberbatch starring as the computer genius and codebreaker.
But that’s not all! This past August, they also made a “preemptive acquisition” of a pitch from Mark L. Smith, one tentatively titled “King Harald” and centered on King Harald of Norway, an 11th century conqueror who is described as “the last great Viking king.” Reportedly set to be styled as a “Braveheart”-esque tale, if the project goes through, DiCaprio would finally get to play a part he’s long wanted to play – a Viking warrior (any Viking warrior, really, as it sounds like this is a strangely specific genre the actor has wanted to break into for some time now). In June, the studio bought yet another historical pitch with an eye to have DiCaprio star – this one comes from scribe Jason Hall and focuses on, weirdly enough, Rasputin. Yes, DiCaprio wants to play Rasputin. And back in December of 2011, Warner bought yet another non-fiction book for Moore to adapt, Erik Larson’s “The Devil in the White City,” in order to give DiCaprio yes, another, true-life role – this time as serial killer Dr. HH Holmes.
And, just for good measure, DiCaprio has been loosely attached to another presidential biopic – this one based on Teddy Roosevelt – for nearly a decade now.
Hasn’t DiCaprio played enough real people in the reel world? Apparently not.
DiCaprio’s latest biopic, the Martin Scorsese-directed “The Wolf of Wall Street,” may look too insane to be true (if you’ve already forgotten the film’s pounding, utterly nutty trailers, we’d like to know your secret), but it’s based on the tell-all memoir of the same name by Wall Street criminal Jordan Belfort.
Back in 2011, DiCaprio made a big bid for Oscar glory with the eponymous role in Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edgar,” a lackluster misfire that attempted to humanize FBI head J. Edgar Hoover and managed to look incredibly silly in the process. He did, however, have marked success playing Howard Hughes in 2004’s “The Aviator” and professional con man Frank Abagnale, Jr. in the frisky fun “Catch Me If You Can.”
DiCaprio has also played some lesser-known famous dudes, including King Louis XIV in the very, very fictionalized “The Man in the Iron Mask,” the tortured poet Arthur Rimbaud in “Total Eclipse,” and writer Jim Carroll in the wrenching “The Basketball Diaries.” You got a real dude with a real story that needs a reel adaption? Call Leo!
DiCaprio has yet to win an Oscar for his acting, though he’s already been nominated for three (only one of which came care of a fact-based performance, his work in The Aviator), though he seems pretty intent on changing that (and soon!) with yet another massive, make-up-heavy fact-based performance. Break out the hairpieces and pancake foundation.
Additional source information via Deadline.