Warner Bros. has picked up the rights to Don Winslow’s bestselling novel Satori with Leonardo DiCaprio set to star. The thriller, set in post-WWII Japan, centers on a Westerner who is raised in Japan and taught assassin’s skills. As a young man, he is tasked with assassinating a Soviet commissioner in China, a mission that’s more than likely suicidal. Deadline reports that DiCaprio’s Appian Way production banner will take on producing duties alongside Grisdi Productions, and Warner Bros. hopes to have a Jason Bourne-style franchise on their hands. This is the second Winslow novel to be adapted for the big screen, as Oliver Stone’s adaptation of Savages is set for release next year with Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Blake Lively, John Travolta, and Benicio del Toro starring.
DiCaprio will next be seen in Clint Eastwood’s biopic J. Edgar. The actor is currently filming The Great Gatsby in Australia, then he’ll move onto his villainous role in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.
Nicholai Hel was already an accomplished assassin, a master of hoda korosu (“naked kill”), when introduced in Trevanian’s 1979 Shibumi. Now Winslow (The Life and Death of Bobby Z.) dons Trevanian’s mantle and cloaks Hel in a tangled series of adventures and misadventures in this exciting prequel. Hel’s conditional ticket out of an American-run prison in 1951 Japan requires him to acquire a new face and identity and to carry out a probably suicidal mission to assassinate Soviet commissioner Yuri Voroshenin in China. In the guise of 26-year-old Michel Guibert, a French arms dealer, Hel enters a labyrinthine world of intrigue as various Chinese factions and foreign interests struggle for advantage. Winslow successfully fleshes out Hel’s mixed heritage (aristocratic Russian mother, surrogate Japanese father and mentor), and eventually takes him to war-torn Vietnam, where Hel’s expertise in applying Go strategy is as important to his survival as his physical skills. Winslow has crafted an impressive prelude to a highly esteemed classic thriller. [Amazon]