He's played Howard Hughes and J. Edgar Hoover, but Leonardo DiCaprio isn't done with hefty biopics just yet. He's now planning to produce and star in Wilson, based on A. Scott Berg's just-published biography of Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States. Warner Bros. look likely to pick up the project.
Wilson was an academic who worked at Weslyan University and Princeton before becoming governor of New Jersey in 1911 and President in 1913, just in time for the First World War. A Democrat, he's still despised by much of the American right. To date, he's the only president with a doctorate.
Non-Americans are perhaps best aware of Wilson for his international record. He took America into the Great War in 1917, and was one of the 'big three' negotiators of the Treaty of Versailles (the peace treaty at the end of the war) in 1919. Subsequently he fought hard to persuade Congress of the merits of participation in the League of Nations, but was ultimately unsuccessful on that score.
Domestically, he was behind the creation of the Federal Reserve, but his record on civil liberties and civil rights for African Americans was less impressive. The Hollywod Reporter believes issues like that will likely be downplayed, however - as they reportedly are in the book - in favour of "a heroic, larger-than-life Wilson, emphasising his progressive achievements".
The film is coming together at DiCaprio's own (quietly prolific) Appian Way production company, with Berg himself, Lynn Harris and Jennifer Davisson Killoran among the other producers. It's unclear so far whether Berg intends to craft his own screenplay. His book, already out in the States, is published here in the UK by Simon & Schuster on October 10.