Back in September 2017, Deadline announced that Leonardo DiCaprio would play President Theodore Roosevelt in a biopic that Martin Scorsese would direct for Paramount. DiCaprio’s old buddy Scott Bloom, who co-starred with the actor in Don’s Plum, had been tapped to write the script, and the project hasn’t made headlines since. Until now.
In a delicious profile of embattled filmmaker Josh Trank, Polygon’s gifted feature writer Matt Patches drops a fascinating nugget about the Fantastic Four director — Trank was hired to rewrite the script for Roosevelt. You know the phrase down-and-out? Well at the time, Trank was down, but he was never out, so we have a theory as to how this partnership might have happened.
See, Trank’s Al Capone biopic had already been announced at that point, and Scorsese seems like a guy who has long been fascinated with gangsters and organized crime, so while (as Capone was then titled), liked what he saw, and signed off on Trank coming aboard to rewrite his presidential biopic.
When you take Scorsese’s recent track record into account, his turning to Trank makes a lot of sense. This is the guy who executive produced the Safdie brothers‘ gambling drama Uncut Gems and Ben Wheatley‘s crime comedy Free Fire, not to mention a young Kenneth Lonergan‘s directorial debut You Can Count On Me. Regardless of how you feel about those individual films — and I don’t mind saying that I couldn’t stand Free Fire — it’s clear that Scorsese appreciates writers who have a voice and aren’t afraid to use it.