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Leonardo DiCaprio Sets His Sights on a Leonardo da Vinci Biopic

Leonardo DiCaprio
Jerod Harris / Stringer, Getty Images

Leonardo DiCaprio has made a career out of playing historical individuals who were too smart for their own good. From Catch Me If You Can to The Aviator to J. Edgar to The Wolf of Wall Street, DiCaprio’s niche is to play fiercely intelligent men whose vision often exceeded their grasp. So who better to play someone as notoriously ahead of his time  —  and just as notoriously impatient when it came to finishing projects  —  as Leonardo da Vinci? The world-renowned painter, architect, and inventor will apparently be the subject of an upcoming biography, one that DiCaprio’s production company quickly snapped up before it even hit bookshelves.

As Deadline (via ComingSoon.net) reported, Paramount Pictures was locked in a fierce bidding war for the rights to Leonardo da Vinci, the latest book by noted biographer Walter Isaacson. The film will be produced by DiCaprio through Appian Way, the actor’s production company, and will likely star DiCaprio as the man himself. As noted in the article, Isaacson’s work has previously been adapted as a Danny Boyle biopic (Steve Jobs) and as a scripted television series on National Geographic (Genius, which stars Geoffrey Rush as Albert Einstein).

While there are plenty of made-for-television documentaries and short features on the life of da Vinci, the man has yet to get an award season-caliber adaptation of his life. Perhaps the most prestigious portrayal of the man was in the 2003 miniseries Leonardo, where da Vinci was played by noted thespian Mark Rylance. Whatever Paramount and DiCaprio decide to do with the book will immediately make this the most auspicious adaptation of Leonardo da Vinci’s life to date, so be prepared for another rags-to-riches-to-rags story from DiCaprio and company. You can always tell the important books; they’re the ones that go in development before they’ve even hit the shelves.

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