In terms of success, legendary director Martin Scorsese has never had any shortage of it. He's collaborated with others throughout the years, though quite typically these collaborations are with actors: Robert DeNiro (Taxi Driver), Joe Pesci (Casino) and most recently Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street). One of Scorsese’s most successful pairing (in terms of critical acclaim and accolades) in the past decade was with screenwriter William Monahan for 2006’s The Departed.
The tense criminal thriller captured Scorsese his first - and to date only – Oscar for Best Director, while landing Monahan his first and only Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. The Departed went on to also pick up the Oscar for Best Picture. Despite Scorsese’s ever busy schedule, word is now beginning to spread that he may team up once again with Monahan for a biopic of famed daredevil Evel Knievel.
Deadline is reporting that the Evel Knievel film is in early development and Scorsese hasn't committed to it yet, but hopes are understandably high at Paramount Pictures that things will fall into place. The film will be based on the Sheldon Saltman book "Evel Knievel On Tour", which presented such a direct and frank exploration of Evel Knievel the man that Knievel himself attacked Saltman with a baseball bat as a result.
In addition to Scorsese and Monahan potentially teaming up for the project (as director and writer, respectively), there was also been some talk – though purely conjecture at this point – that given Scorsese’s fondness for Leonardo DiCaprio, the actor could always be a possibility for the role of Evel Knievel. Scorsese and DiCaprio reportedly have plans to work together on a film adaptation of the book The Devil in the White City in the foreseeable future, so it seems fair to assume that the pair will reunite on some future project (be it Devil in the White City, an Evel Knievel biopic, or something else altogether).
For the time being, it seems a little premature to get excited about the possibility of this film happening. Hollywood is filled with a litany of rumours about this director taking that film and so on. As it stands, there have been numerous attempts over the years to bring the story of Evel Knievel to the big screen in non-documentary form - in fact, Darren Aronofsky was reported to be circling such a film earlier this year. That said, the subject matter would perfectly fit Scorsese’s sensibilities as a filmmaker. Evel Knievel was the quintessential American badass – a subject that Scorsese is no stranger to.
For his own part, William Monahan hasn’t found the same level of success since The Departed, so reuniting with Scorsese on a project of this magnitude could end up being exactly what he needs. We’ll all just have to wait and see if Scorsese ultimately feels that this film is a risk worth taking; and if it is, audiences are likely in for a treat.
We'll bring you more information on this Evel Knievel project as it becomes available.