In a world where Leonardo DiCaprio can now place “Oscar Winner” as a precursor to his name, we now know what his first post Academy Award role will be. Paramount pictures has acquired the rights to Stephen Talty’s crime drama The Black Hand and DiCaprio is set to star and produce the film under his Appian Way banner, making this his next project, if you don’t count his producing credit on the Captain Planet live action movie. And we don’t, because no one should.
Paramount is reportedly on the lookout for a screenwriter to adapt Talty’s novel which follows the genesis of organized crime in America and the officer determined to stop it. Set in the early 1900s, the story follows detective Joseph Petrosino, a famed NYPD officer who squared off against “The Black Hand”, a ruthless gang that kidnapped the children of immigrants and extorted their family for money. Petrosino would ultimately be assassinated by the organization. DiCaprio would be playing the lead which has been dubbed as the “Italian Sherlock Holmes.” This sounds unbelievably juicy in both narrative and scope. It almost feels like an Untouchables, but on a larger scale and starring DiCaprio.
Leo is one busy man, he has some attachment to several projects that are all in different stages of development. He’s planning on working with Martin Scorsese on The Devil in the White City, which will be o hold until Scorsese finishes The Irishman. He also has a mystery project in the pipeline with The Revenant scribe, Mark L. Smith, called Conquest, which has no production date to speak of, at the moment. He is also attached to the Dissociative Identity Disorder crime drama, The Crowded Room, which also has no production date to speak of.
Here is the official synopsis of The Black Hand from Amazon:
Beginning in the summer of 1903, an insidious crime wave filled New York City, and then the entire country, with fear. The children of Italian immigrants were kidnapped, and dozens of innocent victims were gunned down. Bombs tore apart tenement buildings. Judges, senators, Rockefellers, and society matrons were threatened with gruesome deaths. The perpetrators seemed both omnipresent and invisible. Their only calling card: the symbol of a black hand. The crimes whipped up the slavering tabloid press and heated ethnic tensions to the boiling point. Standing between the American public and the Black Hand’s lawlessness was Joseph Petrosino. Dubbed the “Italian Sherlock Holmes,” he was a famously dogged and ingenious detective, and a master of disguise. As the crimes grew ever more bizarre and the Black Hand’s activities spread far beyond New York’s borders, Petrosino and the all-Italian police squad he assembled raced to capture members of the secret criminal society before the country’s anti-immigrant tremors exploded into catastrophe. Petrosino’s quest to root out the source of the Black Hand’s power would take him all the way to Sicily—but at a terrible cost.