×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

DiCaprio to star in JFK tale

Assassination story based on book 'Legacy of Secrecy'

Leonardo DiCaprio will star in and produce the feature “Legacy of Secrecy,” based on the book about the John F. Kennedy assassination by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann.

DiCaprio will produce through his Warner Bros.-based Appian Way banner with his father, George, who brought the book to his son’s attention. Appian Way’s Earl Katz will exec produce.

Warners, which handled Oliver Stone’s “JFK” in 1991, is eyeing a possible 2013 release of “Legacy of Secrecy” coinciding with the 50th anni of President Kennedy’s assassination.

DiCaprio is expected to play FBI informant Jack Van Laningham. The book — whose full title is “Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination” — asserts that Mafia godfather Carlos Marcello confessed to Van Laningham to having ordered JFK’s assassination. As part of a dangerous and long-secret undercover operation, the FBI positioned Van Laningham to become confidant to Marcello, who ruled organized crime in Louisiana and most of Texas for decades.

“Legacy of Secrecy” includes information from declassified FBI files from the National Archives which details the FBI’s clandestine operation with Van Laningham and Marcello’s JFK confession. The book also included information from FBI and Secret Service files showing that more than a dozen of Marcello’s associates and family members were questioned or arrested by authorities in assocation with the JFK assassination.Marcello, who died in 1993, has not yet been the subject of a feature film. Marcello’s name did not appear in the 1964 Warren Report, but the 1979 House Select Committee on Assassinations said mobster Santo Trafficante and Marcello “had the motive, means, and opportunity to assassinate President Kennedy.”

As part of Warner’s deal for “Legacy of Secrecy,” Waldron is retaining documentary film and TV rights to the book, which also says the Mafia played a role in the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and in Watergate. Appian Way’s Katz will produce one of the documentaries.

DiCaprio was last seen in “Inception.” Appian Way’s a producer on “Red Riding Hood,” due out in March from Warners, and on the George Clooney-Ryan Gosling starrer “The Ides of March,” currently in pre-production.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Fiddlin'

    Film Review: 'Fiddlin''

    Not many forms of music have “old-” actually built into their name as a prefix. So it’s a given that the practitioners of the 200-year-old genre known as “old-time music” will wear their antiquity proudly in “Fiddlin’,” a documentary set in and around the 80th annual Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax, Va. What may not [...]

  • Jonah Hill attends the press conference

    Jonah Hill Passes on Role in 'The Batman'

    After being offered a role in “The Batman,” Jonah Hill has moved on from the project. Why exactly Hill is passing is currently unknown, and insiders tell Variety that when the news was initially reported, it was very early in the negotiations and that a deal was far from closing. The news comes after Zoe [...]

  • Daniel Kaluuya Elizabeth Moss

    SCAD Savannah Film Festival Honorees Include Daniel Kaluuya, Elisabeth Moss

    Daniel Kaluuya, Elisabeth Moss, Danielle Macdonald, Aldis Hodge, Valerie Pachner, Samantha Morton, Sienna Miller, Alan Silvestri and Olivia Wilde are set to be honored at the 22nd Annual SCAD Savannah Film Festival. Breakout Award honorees include Beanie Feldstein, Kaitlyn Dever, Jharrel Jerome, Mena Massoud and Camila Morrone. Macdonald, who appears on Netflix in “Unbelievable” and [...]

  • Alexander Skarsgard, Nicole Kidman. Alexander Skarsgard,

    Nicole Kidman, Alexander Skarsgard to Reunite for Robert Eggers' 'The Northman'

    With his latest film “The Lighthouse” set to bow this weekend, Robert Eggers’ next film has cast two leads, “Big Little Lies” alums Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgård. The pic, titled “The Northman,” is described as a Viking revenge saga set in Iceland at the turn of the 10th century. In talks to join Kidman [...]

  • Jessica Henwick

    'Matrix 4' Taps 'Iron Fist' Star Jessica Henwick

    Jessica Henwick is in final negotiations to star in the upcoming fourth installment of the “Matrix” franchise. She joins Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, who will be reprising their roles in the film, as well as Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who was tapped as one of the leads last week. Neil Patrick Harris also just joined [...]

  • Frozen 2

    Record 32 Animated Feature Films Submitted for Oscars

    “The Addams Family,” “Frozen II,” “Toy Story 4,” “Abominable” and “The Secret Life of Pets 2” are among the record 32 movies submitted for the animated feature film category at the 2020 Oscars. Last year’s Academy Awards race boasted 25 entries, while 2017 had 26 and 2016 had 27 (a then-record). The list of contenders [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content