'Time Traveler's' helmer tapped for drama pilot

Robert Schwentke has been tapped to direct the HBO drama pilot “The Lobotomist,” with Daniel Thomsen on board to write the script.

Schwentke, who helmed “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” will also exec produce with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Killoran of Appian Way, Brad Fischer and Laeta Kalogridis of Mythology Entertainment, and Mike Medavoy.

Thomsen will co-exec produce and Aaron Criswell is set as a co-producer.

Inspired by the meteoric rise and fall of Dr. Walter Freeman, “The Lobotomist” tells the story of one man’s quest to change the world through a new, experimental brain surgery. However, when this maverick doctor is willing to go to any lengths to achieve his goals, his life careens out of control — from the highs of international recognition to the tabloids, with the history of mental health care, changed in his wake.

Pilot, which may eventually turn into a series, is based on the book “The Lobotomist” by author Jack El-Hai.

The project came about when DiCaprio, “Shutter Island” exec producer and writer Kalogridis, and producer Fischer were working on the Martin Scorsese film and gravitated toward El-Hai’s book while researching the history of lobotomy. Mythology optioned the book and, together with DiCaprio and his production shingle, Appian Way, took it to HBO.

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