Leonardo DiCaprio is set to fulfill a longtime quest to play his namesake, artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci, on the big screen, with his production company nabbing the rights to an upcoming biography of the original Renaissance man.
Deadline reports that studio Paramount and DiCaprio's Appian Way banner have made a deal to adapt "Leonardo da Vinci" by biographer Walter Isaacson after an intense bidding war with rival Universal. Isaacson is known for his sprawling books on historical figures (his biographies of Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein were adapted into recent film and TV projects "Steve Jobs" and "Genius," respectively), and "da Vinci" seems to be similarly painstakingly detailed.
Here's the scoop on the book -- and the upcoming movie -- via Deadline:
According to info from the publisher, Isaacson used Da Vinci's notebooks to weave a narrative that connects his art to his science and voracious curiosity and imagination. Aside from his priceless paintings, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy (his iconic drawing of Vitruvian Man), fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology and weaponry. He peeled flesh off the faces of cadavers, drew the muscles that move the lips and then painted history's most memorable smile. He explored the math of optics, showed how light rays strike the cornea and produced illusions of changing perspectives in The Last Supper. Isaacson also describes how Leonardo's lifelong enthusiasm for staging theatrical productions informed his paintings and inventions. According to the book, he also was a bit of a misfit: illegitimate, gay, vegetarian, left-handed, easily distracted and at times heretical.
According to Variety, it's "no coincidence" that the Oscar-winning DiCaprio was interested in playing the celebrated painter.
"The actor's mother famously claims to have chosen the artist as her son's namesake when she felt an in utero DiCaprio kick for the first time while examining a da Vinci piece at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy back in 1974," the trade writes.
The book "Leonardo da Vinci" is due out on October 17. No word yet on when production on the film is set to begin.