Warner Bros Acquires Don Winslow Novel For Leonardo DiCaprio

Warner Brothers have acquired the rights to Don Winslow‘s best selling novel Satori and plan to develop the story into a Jason Bourne type franchise, as a vehicle for Leonardo Dicaprio. Shane Salerno will executive produce and co-write the script with Don Winslow while John Lesher’s Grisdi Productions and DiCaprio’s Appian Way partner Jennifer Killoran will be producing.

Deadline, who broke the story, gave a synopsis of the film:

“DiCaprio will play Nicholai Hel, raised in Japan by a martial arts expert and genius at Go, the complex chess-like Japanese game. His master, a Japanese general, passes on all his secrets and the student repays him by murdering his mentor as an act of devotion; the military leader would have been disgraced and killed as a war criminal.

For that act, Hel is thrown in solitary confinement in a Tokyo prison, and tortured for three years. He is finally sprung by the CIA after agreeing to assassinate the Soviet commissioner to China. Hel is trained for the task by a beautiful French woman he falls in love with. Though he now sees a happy ending at the end of the dangerous assignment, Hel is betrayed by his backers, and, using his Go skills for strategy, makes his way through Vietnam hunted by American, Chinese, Russian and French intelligence agencies as well as a Corsican mob and Vietnamese criminal syndicate. It’s a sophisticated thriller and the studio sees potential for its own Jason Bourne-type action franchise.”

Salerno has also co-wrote another Don Winslow film adaptation, Savages. That film is currently filming in California with Oliver Stone at the helm and it will star Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Benicio Del Toro, John Travolta, Salma Hayek and Emile Hirsch.

It is unclear when or even if Satori will get moving, with DiCaprio booked from now until December filming The Great Gatsby in Australia, and then from January until April filming Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. It is also worth mentioning that this is, to IMDb‘s knowledge, DiCaprio’s 20th film in-development, which means that like many of those films, this one may not end up staring the much sought after actor, or even get made at all.

So far there is no director attached to the project, but if DiCaprio does stay on, he will no doubt be requesting an A-List director, who is willing too direct what may be a trilogy, and that is very hard to find. The only directors that springs to mind, that I could see working on this project that fit the A-List criteria would be Paul Greengrass, but this is very similar to the Bourne films he directed.

Another possible director I could see at the helm would be DiCaprio’s Inception director, Christopher Nolan. It is unclear what Nolan will do after The Dark Knight Rises, but it has been rumoured he will direct a biopic about Howard Hughes.

Have you read Don Winslow’s novel, if so is DiCaprio a good choice for the lead and who else you see starring in this film?