Leonardo DiCaprio to star in The Black Hand as the "Italian Sherlock Holmes"

Leonardo DiCaprio The Black Hand

Now that he's finally won his Oscar, Leonardo DiCaprio can pretty much do whatever the hell he wants, such as setting up a big-screen version of Captain Planet or starring as Joseph Petrosino in an adaptation of Stephan Talty's upcoming true-crime novel "The Black Hand". Dubbed the "Italian Sherlock Holmes," Petrosino was an NYPD cop who went above and beyond in order to bring a ruthless group known as The Black Hand to justice in the early 1900's.

Deadline reports that Paramount Pictures have picked up the rights to Stephan Talty's novel as a vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio, who will also produce the project via his Appian Way production banner. The ruthless gang who Petrosino faced off with, whose calling card was a black hand, came to America from Italy and kidnapped people with the purpose of extorting money from their families. The group were "loathed by law-abiding Italian families who were frightened but nevertheless helped Petrosino behind the scenes when they could as the viciousness of the gang of thugs knew no boundaries." Paramount is currently in the process of hiring a writer to adapt the book.

A synopsis of Stephan Talty's novel via Amazon:

Beginning in the summer of 1903, an insidious crime wave filled New York City, and then the entire country, with fear. The children of Italian immigrants were kidnapped, and dozens of innocent victims were gunned down. Bombs tore apart tenement buildings. Judges, senators, Rockefellers, and society matrons were threatened with gruesome deaths. The perpetrators seemed both omnipresent and invisible. Their only calling card: the symbol of a black hand. The crimes whipped up the slavering tabloid press and heated ethnic tensions to the boiling point. Standing between the American public and the Black Hand’s lawlessness was Joseph Petrosino. Dubbed the “Italian Sherlock Holmes,” he was a famously dogged and ingenious detective, and a master of disguise. As the crimes grew ever more bizarre and the Black Hand’s activities spread far beyond New York’s borders, Petrosino and the all-Italian police squad he assembled raced to capture members of the secret criminal society before the country’s anti-immigrant tremors exploded into catastrophe. Petrosino’s quest to root out the source of the Black Hand’s power would take him all the way to Sicily—but at a terrible cost.

This is just one of many projects Leonardo DiCaprio has on his slate, he's also set to reunite with Martin Scorsese for THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY about serial-killer H.H. Holmes as well as team up with THE REVENANT screen-writer Mark L. Smith for CONQUEST.

Source: Deadline



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