Leonardo DiCaprio has played historical personages before, but his attachement to a pitch at Warner Brothers for a film about the Russian “mad monk” known as Grigori Rasputin may yield his flashiest true life role yet.
Deadline has reported that the studio has bought a pitch from American Sniper scribe Jason Hall about the mystic adviser to the Russian Tzar Nicholas II and his family that he will be developing for DiCaprio to star in.
Not much is definitively known about Rasputin as during the time he was associated with the Tzar and his family there were plenty of rumors that circulated about him. He was first invited to the Tzar’s palace as a healer with the hope that he could do something for Tsarevich Alexei’s hemophilia. Whether because of his growing influence within the Tzar’s family, his unorthodox views on religion and spirituality or some of both, Rasputin earned a number of enemies within the court in a short time and survived one assassination attempt before a second finally succeeded in December 1916, months before the Russian Revolution would begin.
While there are some who still see DiCaprio in terms of his pretty-boys, I think his best stuff is when he is playing a character that uses his looks to help him pursuit a nefarious goal. In Catch Me If You Can or Django Unchained he’ll flash a charming smile that will disarm a prospective victim without them even realizing it. So this sounds like a project that could conceivably play to that strength to the hilt.