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After turning in an Academy Award winning performance in The Revenant, Leonardo DiCaprio decided it was a good time to take a break from acting. With the harrowing effort he'd put into the lead of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Oscar contender, some time off was inevitable in the name of recharging. Now, however, it looks like DiCaprio is ready to come back, and with a true life story about a New York cop going up against the Italian mob.
Deadline has picked up on the news that Academy Award winner DeCaprio is currently attached to star in The Black Hand, an adaptation of the forthcoming true crime book by author Stephan Talty. Based on the true story of New York cop Joe Petrosino, the book tells the story of how his status as an Italian immigrant set him up as the right man to attempt taking down the titular criminal organization. The Black Hand's period of operation was around the turn of the century, with Petrosino putting a good number of their members away before his untimely death in 1909. It's a project rife with all the sort of stuff Leonardo DiCaprio is famous for.
For starters, it's a period piece, and we all know how much DiCaprio gravitates towards those. Not to mention, it overlaps with a similar period of history that occupies another project he's been circling, Martin Scorsese's The Devil In The White City. How The Black Hand will effect that project's development is yet to be seen. What we do know is since this more current project is still looking for a writer, there may be a good chance that his Scorsese project still gets made before The Black Hand goes before cameras.
However, another good reason that Leonardo DiCaprio is taking this project on is because of its political relevance. With all of the talk of immigration in the United States today, The Black Hand could serve as a springboard to discuss such issues in an historical context. It's the sort of message that the actor has always seemed fond of, and it's something that could put him in the Academy's good graces yet again. Which is a good thing, because it sure as hell doesn't look like he'll ever get to make The Given Day any time soon, what with its sequel Live By Night failing so hard at the box office that it may have cost Ben Affleck his director's chair on The Batman.
The Black Hand is both a detective story and a meditation on immigration, at least that's what it sounds like in the rundown we read. It's the type of movie that can both be entertaining, while serving a social purpose. So long as they mix the two properly, this film could pack a bigger punch than anyone would expect. The Black Hand: The Epic War Between a Brilliant Detective and the Deadliest Secret Society in American History will be available for purchase on April 21st, with the film adaptation currently searching for a writer to join the project. When we have new information, we'll let you know immediately.