While everyone was busy talking about Leonardo DiCaprio's white guy rhythm at Coachella (and honestly, I wish I could pull off that punch move), it looks like his “Wolf of Wall Street” follow-up was clicking into place. And boy is it a good one.
The film is “The Revenant,” based on the novel by Michael Punke. It was one of a number of projects DiCaprio has been attached to, but now it's officially his next as it will go into production this September with a release date set for the fall of next year.
“The Revenant” tells the true story of fur trapper Hugh Glass, left for dead by a pair of fellow volunteers of a Rocky Mountain fur trapping expedition who were tasked to care for him in the wake of a vicious grizzly bear mauling. “Deserted, defenseless and furious,” an official description reads, “Glass vows his survival. And his revenge.” Sean Penn was in the mix as one of the antagonists, but he's out of the running now, according to Deadline.
Alejandro González Iñárritu will direct the film with New Regency backing, and it sounds like something that could eventually end up at Fox or Fox Searchlight given the filmmaker and financier relationships involved, but we'll see. González Iñárritu also has “Birdman” set for release later this year with Michael Keaton, so he's on a nice tear as of late.
This sounds like just the kind of project DiCaprio is interested in as of late. He has his eye on prestige material, character-driven, classy stuff, even when it crosses into popcorn territory (“Inception”). He wanted to be in Scott Cooper's “Out of the Furnace” (which he still ended up producing), but Christian Bale netted that part instead. He has Cooper's adaptation of Michael Armour's “The Road Home” (retitled “The Little Jewel”) on the horizon at Warner Bros., which he will produce and potentially star in. That one is a Depression-era drama about a war-scarred rancher on the Central California coast caught up in a murder being covered up by local law enforcement. It will span from 1918 France to Santa Barbara County in the 30s, according to Cooper, getting into nasty stuff like the opium trade.
Then there's “Blood on the Snow,” also at Warner Bros. Based on the Tom Johansson (aka Jo Nesbo) novel, the thriller centers on a hit man who falls in love with his boss's wife after being assigned to assassinate her. Like “The Road Home” that novel hasn't been published yet, but it also has a sequel book coming right on its heels. And if that's not enough, there was also a pitch Warner Bros. acquired for DiCaprio to play the role of Grigori Rasputin, the famed Russian mystic and adviser for the Russian Imperial family.
So there's a lot on the star's plate coming off his big, Oscar-nominated year on “The Wolf of Wall Street.” He's in an enviable position, as always, and it's great to see a star wielding his power behind projects of substance rather than gunning for obvious paychecks. That's been his M.O. for a long while now. But while the possibilities are aplenty at the moment, we now know what the next one will be. And a DiCaprio/González Iñárritu collaboration is sure to be an intriguing showcase for both.
Look for “The Revenant” in the fall of 2015.