Steven Spielberg and Leonardo DiCaprio may reteam for a biopic on Ulysses S. Grant. The movie is being set up by Lionsgate and Appian Way. DiCaprio is being eyed to star in the lead role and Spielberg, according to a new report, has his sights set on directing the project. This would mark the first time that the two titans of cinema have worked together since 2002's Catch Me if You Can.
Last November, Lionsgate and Appian Way acquired the rights to the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Grant by Ron Chernow. The adaptation is being penned by David James Kelly, who most recently worked on the studio's upcoming Robin Hood, which features Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx. Despite the fact that both Steven Spielberg and Leonardo DiCaprio have very full plates already, this new report states that the Grant biopic is a priority for both of them, so they may shift some of the other stuff they have in the works in order to make this happen. To give an idea of just how epic and deep this could be, here's a detailed synopsis of Chernow's biography.
"Ulysses S. Grant's life has typically been misunderstood. All too often he is caricatured as a chronic loser and an inept businessman, or as the triumphant but brutal Union general of the Civil War. But these stereotypes don't come close to capturing him, as Chernow shows in his masterful biography, the first to provide a complete understanding of the general and president whose fortunes rose and fell with dizzying speed and frequency. Before the Civil War, Grant was flailing. His business ventures had ended dismally, and despite distinguished service in the Mexican War he ended up resigning from the army in disgrace amid recurring accusations of drunkenness. But in war, Grant began to realize his remarkable potential, soaring through the ranks of the Union army, prevailing at the battle of Shiloh and in the Vicksburg campaign, and ultimately defeating the legendary Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Along the way, Grant endeared himself to President Lincoln and became his most trusted general and the strategic genius of the war effort. Grant's military fame translated into a two-term presidency, but one plagued by corruption scandals involving his closest staff members. More important, he sought freedom and justice for black Americans, working to crush the Ku Klux Klan and earning the admiration of Frederick Douglass, who called him "the vigilant, firm, impartial, and wise protector of my race." After his presidency, he was again brought low by a dashing young swindler on Wall Street, only to resuscitate his image by working with Mark Twain to publish his memoirs, which are recognized as a masterpiece of the genre."
Steven Spielberg is set to begin filming Indiana Jones 5 in April of next year, which will take up a good chunk of his time. He also has the remake of West Side Story he's been planning and, by the looks of things, it doesn't appear as though he's going to be able to fit that in before getting back to work with Harrison Ford. It was also recently announced that he's developing a DC movie for Warner Bros. centered on the character Blackhawk. That means he's got quite a bit in the way before he could take on this Civil War-era epic. Spielberg previously explored this part of American history in Lincoln, which earned Daniel Day-Lewis an Oscar for his portrayal of the famed leader. Grant would give him another opportunity to explore the same era through the eyes of a totally different iconic figure.
Leonardo DiCaprio took a long break from acting after The Revenant, which finally earned him a sorely deserved Oscar. His next movie role is in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which films later this year for release in 2019. The actor also has been developing a Leonardo Da Vinci movie. Not for nothing, but there were also those rumors that Warner Bros. was hoping to court DiCaprio for their Joker movie. Point being, he's also got a lot brewing.
Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton was the inspiration for Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton and the author also won a Pulitzer for his work on Washington: A Life. Taking that level of prestige in mind, it would make sense for both Steven Spielberg and Leonardo DiCaprio, especially as a team, to strongly consider making Grant. This news comes to us courtesy of Deadline.