Writers' strike gave DiCaprio thriller its start

“The best thing that ever happened to this project was the writers strike,” said “Shutter Island” author-exec producer Dennis Lehane at the Par pic’s star studded Ziegfeld preem Feb. 17 in New York.

During the Rouge Tomate after-party, Lehane said “Shutter” star, Leonardo DiCaprio and helmer, Martin Scorsese only became interested in adapting his 2003 novel after DiCaprio realized he wouldn’t be able to work on Lehane’s “The Given Day.”

“Leo read ‘The Given Day’ and heard that (producer) Mike Medavoy was working on something with me, so he asked Mike about it,” Lehane said. “Mike told him, ‘With the writers’ strike coming why would you want a book that isn’t a screenplay yet? Why don’t you take a look at this ‘Shutter Island’ script I have.’ Leo read it, flipped, and Marty was on board two days later.”

As for Par’s decision to shift film’s release date from its original October to its current February debut, Medavoy said he was “somewhat disappointed” but “understood.”

“Ultimately I don’t think it will make a big difference,” Medavoy said. “As a matter of fact I think it may have been the right decision all the way around.”

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