It's a shocker, we know: Leonardo DiCaprio is set to star in yet another biopic, this time as Atari founder Nolan Bushnell. The Hollywood Reporter notes that screenwriters Brian Hecker and Craig Sherman sold their script Atari to Paramount on Friday, with DiCaprio's Appian Way shingle producing the story of "the godfather of the video game industry," whom we'd probably like just fine were he not also the shithead who foisted the Chuck E. Cheese chain on an unsuspecting American public.
But we digress! DiCaprio's biographical obsessions — from his baby-faced turn as Tobias Wolff (This Boy's Life) to his overbearing Howard Hughes (The Aviator) to his beguiling swindler Frank Abagnale Jr. (Catch Me if You Can) — have us reconsidering his slate of upcoming roles. Is Leo actually determined to spend the next five years portraying video game mavens, ex-presidents, spy novelists and Wall Street crooks? And will they get him any closer to the Oscar such roles seem to court? Follow the jump for our convenient oddsmaking guide to Leo's biopic prospects.
PROJECT: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
BACKGROUND: The eldest of DiCaprio's gestating biopics, Roosevelt was announced back in Sept. 2005, with Martin Scorsese set to direct a script based on Edmund Morris's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography. Then they did The Departed and Shutter Island (and announced another collaboration in-between; see below). Roosevelt, meanwhile, remains dead.
OSCAR-PANDERING?: Very much (and very expensively) so, but not any worse than, say, The 11th Hour.
ODDS IT'LL BE MADE WITH LEO: 75-1 before 2012; 50-1 afterward.
PROJECT: The Wolf of Wall Street
BACKGROUND: DiCaprio optioned high-flying (literally — he once piloted his chopper while strung out on coke) finance kingpin Jordan Belfort's rags-to-riches-to-prison memoir before its publication in 2007. Again, Scorsese was touched to direct.
OSCAR-PANDERING?: Leo already did showy with Howard Hughes; the Academy is over it.
ODDS IT'LL BE MADE WITH LEO: 20-1. We're much more interested, though, in whether or not Tommy Chong will play himself as Belfort's real-life cellmate.
BACKGROUND: Appian Way last month jumped aboard the biopic of James Bond creator Ian Fleming, which will focus in part on the author's Naval Intelligence background during WWII. DiCaprio is reportedly bringing in a new writer, though, which could mean anything from "Let's play up Fleming's spanking fetish" to "Let's take this off the market just in case."
OSCAR-PANDERING?: Only if Leo masters Fleming's accent and gets to spank Kate Winslet.
BACKGROUND: Announced this weekend, DiCaprio signed on to produce and star as Nolan Bushnell, the heartthrob who brought you Pong.
OSCAR-PANDERING?: Only if the Academy remembers Atari is a brand and not Leo's character. The Chuck E. Cheese thing is a problem as well.
ODDS IT'LL BE MADE WITH LEO: 1-4. And Uwe Boll will direct.