Steven Spielberg and Leonardo DiCaprio are reteaming for a Ulysses S. Grant biopic at Lionsgate. While talks are still in the early stages, this would mark the first collaboration of Spielberg and DiCaprio since 2002’s Catch Me If You Can. Spielberg would be adding another picture in his series of American Epics, following Lincoln, Bridge of Spies, and The Post.
There’s currently no deal in place for Spielberg to direct, and Lionsgate had no comment. The project was set up last year at Lionsgate with DiCaprio and Appian Way partner Jennifer Davisson producing a movie version of Ron Chernow’s 2017 biographical novel Grant. Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton also served as the inspiration for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony winning musical Hamilton. Chernow will serve as an executive producer on the biopic. Robin Hood scribe David James Kelly will be adapting the biography.
Grant has been widely recognized as a superior military tactician for leading the Union Army to victory over the Confederacy during the Civil War under the supervision of President Abraham Lincoln, winning key battles at Shiloh and Vicksburg. He won two terms as President of the United States, succeeding Andrew Johnson and stabilizing the economy. Grant also sought to remove the last remaining traces of slavery, which included working to crush the Ku Klux Klan.
DiCaprio’s next project is Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, set to take place against the backdrop of the 1969 Manson Family murders. DiCaprio is also attached to star in a Leonardo da Vinci project for Paramount and a Teddy Roosevelt biopic with director Martin Scorsese.
It’s currently unclear where this project will fall on Spielberg’s packed schedule. The director is gearing up to direct the fifth installment in the Indiana Jones franchise, which is shooting next year, and is developing a remake of West Side Story. Spielberg will also be tackling his first DC Comics movie, Blackhawk, a film about the fictional World War II hero. Spielberg is still expected to direct The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, the story of a young Jewish boy in 1858 Italy who was secretly baptized by a family servant and then kidnapped from his family by the Papal States, where he was raised and trained as a priest, causing international outrage and becoming a media sensation.
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