Leonardo DiCaprio is getting a reputation for playing infamous real-life figures. After bringing professional fleecer Frank Abagnale Jr to life in Catch Me If You Can, he went on to win a Golden Globe for his role as film director and aviation pioneer Howard Hughes in The Aviator.
Now he's looking to Tsarist Russia for his latest film, Rasputin, in which he will play the eponymous mystic – dubbed "the mad monk" – after Warner Bros acquired the rights to a pitch from American Sniper writer Jason Hall.
The story behind the infamous confidante of the fated Russian royal family, the Romanovs, was bought by the studio after elements of the script focusing on his reaction to his twin brother's tragic early death attracted DiCaprio, reports Deadline. Now the Oscar-nominated actor is being lined up to play the role of Tsar Nicholas II's controversial advisor, first welcomed into the family when he became a healer for their only son, Tsarevich Alexei, who secretly suffered from hemophilia.
While his influence over the royals grew and grew, his power over his rivals ultimately cost him his life when he was drowned in the icy Neva River in St Petersburg after surviving a string of unsuccessful murder attempts which included four failed shootings.
It remains to be seen when DiCaprio will commit to shooting the project, after recently announcing his intention to take a sabbatical from acting following working back-to-back on his last three projects, Django Unchained, The Great Gatsby and Scorsese-directed The Wolf of Wall Street.