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Warner Bros Acquires Post-WWII Don Winslow Novel ‘Satori’ For Leonardo DiCaprio

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has acquired the Don Winslow bestselling novel Satori and will develop it as a star vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio to play a Westerner, raised in Japan and taught an assassin’s skills, who gets caught up in the chaos of post-WWII as the U.S., Soviet Union, France and China maneuver for power in Southeast Asia in the early 1950s. Shane Salerno will write the script with Winslow, and John Lesher’s Grisdi Productions and DiCaprio’s Appian Way partner Jennifer Killoran are producing. Salerno is executive producer.

DiCaprio will play Nicholai Hel, raised in Japan by a martial arts expert and genius at Go, the complex chess-like Japanese game. The master, a Japanese general, passes on all his secrets and the student repays him by murdering his mentor as an act of devotion; the military leader would have been disgraced and killed as a war criminal.

Leonardo DiCaprioFor that act, Hel is thrown in solitary confinement in a Tokyo prison and tortured for three years. He is finally sprung by the CIA after agreeing to assassinate the Soviet commissioner to China. Hel is trained for the task by a beautiful French woman he falls in love with. Though he now sees a happy ending to the dangerous assignment, Hel is betrayed by his backers and, using his Go skills for strategy, makes his way through Vietnam hunted by American, Chinese, Russian and French intelligence agencies as well as a Corsican mob and Vietnamese criminal syndicate. It’s a sophisticated thriller, and the studio sees potential for its own Jason Bourne-type action franchise. Read More »

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Cannes: Red Granite Acquires Leonardo DiCaprio Pic ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’

Mike Fleming

Red Granite Pictures, which just formed an international sales division to be headed by ex-Nu Image execs Danny Dimbort and Christian Mercuri, has just bought into a big project. Red Granite chairman/CEO Riza Aziz and vice chairman Joey McFarland have acquired rights to Jordan Belfort’s memoir The Wolf of Wall Street and will produce with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Killoran’s Appian Way and Alexandra Milchan’s EMJAG Productions. DiCaprio has long wanted to play Belfort, with directors Martin Scorsese and Ridley Scott among those who’s sparked to directing the film. There were reports recently that Scorsese might resurface, but no director is set yet and there isn’t a start date. The project had been set at Warner Bros and nearly got made several years ago, but a tug of war between that studio and Paramount (where Scorsese has his overall deal) led them to instead collaborate on Shutter Island.

Script was written by Terence Winter, the exec producer of The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire. The drama chronicles Belfort’s rise and fall on Wall Street, a run marked by a hard-partying lifestyle, drug addiction, a 1998 indictment for securities fraud and money laundering. And a 22-month federal prison stretch. Belfort has been sober 14 years and is a motivational speaker.

Red Granite’s intention is to produce four to five films each year and make negative pickups. Along with Dimbort and Mercuri, the company brought … Read More »

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‘Devil’ Of A Role For Leonardo DiCaprio

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Leonardo DiCaprio is going to play one of the most prolific serial killers in Chicago history, the 19th Century equivalent of Hannibal Lecter. DiCaprio and his Appian Way partner Jennifer Killoran and Double Features partners Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher have joined forces to acquire screen rights to The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic And Madness At The Fair That Changed America, the 2003 non-fiction book by Erik Larson. DiCaprio will play Dr. HH Holmes, a cunning serial killer believed to have murdered anywhere from 27 to 200 people at a time when the city of Chicago was enthralled with hosting the World’s Fair of 1893. Holmes constructed The World’s Fair Hotel, an inn more lethal than the Bates Motel, especially for young single women. The sociopath used charm and guile to lure guests into what became known as a “murder castle,” a haunt that had a gas chamber, crematorium and a dissecting table where Holmes would murder his victims and strip their skeletons to sell for medical and scientific study.

In a statement, Killoran called the book “truly a one-of-its-kind American story about our nation’s first serial killer. We’re exited to bring it to the big screen.” Said Shamberg and Sher: “This is a big, entertaining thriller in an incredible setting that will appeal to worldwide audience.”

DiCaprio hasn’t played a role like this, but has long been … Read More »

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