Leonardo DiCaprio will play artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci in a upcoming biopic for Paramount. DiCaprio has been portraying real people in movies for much of his storied career. His third film role was as a young Tobias Wolff in This Boy's Life. Just two years later he played author, poet, and musician Jim Carroll in The Basketball Diaries, and gay poet Arthur Rimbaud in Total Eclipse. From con man Frank Abagnale Jr. to billionaire Howard Hughes to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to criminal Jordan Belfort to his Oscar winning role in The Revenant as frontiersman Hugh Glass -- DiCaprio has time and again brought actual people from the past and present to life in film.
Through the years, there has been one real-life historical figure that DiCaprio has especially wanted to play. Artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci. According to DiCaprio's mother, she was looking at a painting of da Vinci's while pregnant with the future Oscar winner, and felt the baby kick so hard that she named her son after the painter whose work she was admiring.
And now DiCaprio will play his namesake in a biopic film based on a soon-to-be-released biography by Walker Isaacson, according to Variety. Paramount and Universal engaged in a bidding war over the property which Paramount has won -- to the tune of seven figures.
Isaacson has also written other biographies which have been adapted to film and television, including the 2015 Michael Fassbender movie Steve Jobs and the first season of Genius where Geoffrey Rush played Albert Einstein. His book about da Vinci will be released on October 17, 2017.
Da Vinci -- who was born in 1452 and died in 1519 -- is best known for painting the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, but he was also a skilled inventor. Some even credit him with first coming up with the concept for the helicopter. But that was only the tip of the iceberg; he was also a genius at math, writing, botany, science, music, history, cartography, and numerous other subjects. Many call him the father of architecture, ichnology, and paleontology. Da Vinci is considered by many to be one of the most multi-talented people to have ever lived.
DiCaprio will produce the film -- as well as star in it -- under the Appian Way banner and with president of production Jennifer Davisson. With the bidding war now ended, work can begin on the film. Though considering the book it is based on is not even published yet, it will most likely be a few years before DiCaprio's performance as his namesake finally gets made and released.