DiCaprio will turn on, tune in for Leary pic

Appian hires Lucas, Horowitz to develop screenplay

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way is moving forward with a biopic on Timothy Leary, hiring scribe Craig Lucas and Leary archivist Michael Horowitz to develop the screenplay.

The DiCaprio-produced take on the life of the writer-psychologist will follow him from his enrollment at West Point in the early 1940s through his escape from prison in 1970. Though Leary’s work touched on many different fields, he is best known as an advocate of the therapeutic and spiritual benefits of LSD.

DiCaprio knew Leary, who died in 1996, and has long had a desire to develop a film on the controversial activist with an eye to topline, according to his reps. DiCaprio, George DiCaprio and Brad Simpson are producing the currently untitled project under their first-look deal with Warner Bros. Pictures. Hillard Elkins of Elkins Entertainment also is producing.

DiCaprio’s isn’t the only Leary pic in the works in Hollywood. Miramax Films recently acquired the rights to Robert Greenfield’s “Timothy Leary: A Biography,” with writer Bill Wheeler aboard to adapt. Greenfield’s tome paints an unflattering portrait of Leary based on interviews with his friends and acquaintances. The book hit shelves this month from Harcourt.

Also, filmmaker Darren Aronofsky reportedly has been keen to direct a Leary biopic.

DiCaprio next stars in Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed.”

Lucas’ credits include “The Secret Lives of Dentists” and “The Dying Gaul.”

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