Paramount Pictures has optioned the Pulitzer Prize-winning Edmund Morris book “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt” and will develop it for Martin Scorsese to direct and Leonardo DiCaprio to star as the 26th U.S. president.
Nicholas Meyer is writing the script.
Pic will chronicle the formative years of Roosevelt as he reinvented himself from a slight and privileged New York politician with a Harvard degree to the burly commander of the Rough Riders, a track that would lead him to the New York governorship, the vice presidency and the White House, when William McKinley was assassinated.
Daniella Taplin, who controlled the book, will produce with Scorsese and Appian Way’s DiCaprio and Brad Simpson.
“From the first page of the book, … his life reads like a movie that requires a big bag of popcorn,” Meyer said. “…We start at 25, as he begins to transform himself through sheer force of will from this asthmatic, nearsighted 125-pounder to this Sherman tank of a man so tough that he once got shot on the way to make a speech and completed his talk, bleeding with a bullet in his chest.”
The deal comes as DiCaprio and Scorsese are in the midst of their third film together, “The Departed,” the Warner Bros. remake of the Hong Kong crime drama “Infernal Affairs.” The duo also made “Gangs of New York” and “The Aviator” together.
Meyer, whose most recent credits are “The Human Stain,” an adaptation of the novel “The Crimson Petal and White” for Curtis Hanson and a just-completed rewrite of “Escape of the Pacific Clipper” for Fox, honed the young Teddy take with Taplin before enlisting DiCaprio and Scorsese, the director who, like Roosevelt, overcame childhood asthma.
Paramount senior vice president of production Pam Abdy is overseeing the project.