Warner Bros. buys bestselling espionage novel as starring vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio
Novelist Don Winslow is one of the latest authors to have piqued Hollywood's interest, with a film version of his crime novel "Savages" completing production last week with Oliver Stone at the helm and now news that Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to "Satori", a 1950-set spy novel that will be adapted as a starring vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio.
DiCaprio is attached to star as Nicholai Hel, an American-born man raised in Japan by a martial arts expert and military leader who taught him the skills of an assassin. After being confined to an American-run Tokyo prison and tortured for three years following the mercy-killing of his mentor, he is released by the CIA under the condition that he go on a mission to assassinate the Soviet commissioner to China.
Trained by a beautiful French woman (who serves as his inevitable love interest), Hel later discovers that he was double-crossed, forcing him to go on the run from a veritable army of international pursuers across war-torn Vietnam. To evade capture he must also rely on his skills as a master strategist, honed by playing the chess-like Japanese game "Go" with his surrogate father.
According to Deadline, which broke the story, the studio is looking at the property as a potential "Bourne"-style franchise for DiCaprio. "Satori" is, in fact, a prequel to the 1979 novel "Shibumi", written by late film scholar Rodney William Whitaker under the pen name Trevanian.
The novel will be adapted by Winslow in collaboration with Shane Salerno ("Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem", "Shaft"). The two also co-scripted "Savages" together.
I wouldn't be surprised if Warner Bros. was eyeing DiCaprio's "Inception" co-star Marion Cotillard to co-star as the love interest...
"Savages", which stars Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Benicio Del Toro, John Travolta, Salma Hayek and Emile Hirsch, is set for release on September 28th, 2012.
DiCaprio will next we seen in Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar", which hits theaters November 9th.