Now that he’s done dancing at Coachella, Leonardo DiCaprio can get back to the business of acting. He appears to have circled his next gig, agreeing in principle to a September shoot for the gritty thriller The Revenant, the next drama from director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.
Deadline breaks the news, reporting that the film will be backed by Fox and New Regency. Inarritu’s movie will be based on Michael Punke's novel "The Revenant: A Novel Of Revenge." DiCaprio is slated to play Hugh Glass, a "19th century fur trapper who gets mauled by a grizzly bear, and then is left for dead by cohorts who rob him. When he survives, he is as pissed as a bee-stung bear and sets out on a treacherous journey to exact revenge on those who betrayed him." When we first reported on the project way back in 2011, we noted that Sean Penn was thinking about playing one of the bad guys in the film. (Penn worked with the director on the blistering 21 Grams.) Deadline now says this no longer is the case.
It’s shaping up to be a busy Fall for Inarritu. The Revenant will begin shooting in September, but he also has Birdman arriving on October 17. That project stars Michael Keaton as a one-time movie star best known for playing a superhero (meta!) who now is trying to mount a successful Broadway play. Inarritu has an incredible cast for this comedy, including Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts (another Inarritu veteran), Amy Ryan and Zach Galifianakis. I’m hoping we get a trailer for that one soon.
It’s always exciting when DiCaprio agrees to work with a new director. He tends to drift back to the filmmakers who make him feel comfortable, including (and most notably) Martin Scorsese. But when he branches out and trusts directors with powerful, unique voices, we’re often treated to visionary collaborations like Inception (Christopher Nolan), Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino) and Catch Me If You Can (Steven Spielberg). This sounds like it could be a riveting role for DiCaprio, who has been courted for numerous parts following the Oscar nomination he earned earlier this year for his work on The Wolf of Wall Street.
We’re curious to see if The Revenant interferes with The Ballad of Richard Jewell, a project DiCaprio and Jonah Hill are circling about the Atlanta security guard whose life was ruined thanks to false reports that he was responsible for the bombing in the Olympic Village in 1996. It’s unclear yet how long Inarritu’s Revenant shoot would last, or if DiCaprio could manage multiple projects. We’ll continue to track. In the meantime, enjoy the trailer for Inarritu’s most star-studded project to date, Babel, to get a sense of the types of performances he gets out of A-listers:
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.