“Collateral” director Michael Mann and Leonardo DiCaprio will collaborate on a drama about the great crime wave of 1933-34.
Universal Pictures has purchased screen rights to “Public Enemies,” the bestselling book by “Barbarians at the Gate” author Bryan Burrough. Kevin Misher will produce.
Pic will tell the story of how the government’s attempt to stop Depression-era criminal legends John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd transformed J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI from a powerless agency into the country’s first federal police force.
It is unclear yet which role DiCaprio will take, or even which side of the law his character will be on.
Pic will be a co-production of Mann’s Forward Pass, DiCaprio’s Appian Way and Misher Films, with Tribeca partners Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro exec producing. That duo originally optioned the Burrough book and set it up at HBO, which let its option lapse. CAA brokered the book deal.
Scott Stuber and Dylan Clark will shepherd the project for Universal.
Mann is expected to direct another film while the crime saga is being scripted. DiCaprio is starring in the De Niro-directed “The Good Shepherd” and will follow by starring with Matt Damon in Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed.”