Former News Corp COO Peter Chernin is using his new production company to grab hold of various in-development projects at 20th Century Fox. Chernin has joined on to produce an action-thriller flick called “Man and Wife”, an adaptation of the critically acclaimed Greg Rucka comic series, “Queen and Country”, and most notably, “The Deep Blue Goodbye”, an adaptation of the John D. MacDonald mystery novel series with Leonardo DiCaprio on board to star. Hit the jump to try and imagine DiCaprio doing a role that would have you leave the theater with a smile rather than just a reminder that Leonardo DiCaprio is a talented dramatic actor.
DiCaprio’s a damn good actor but you have to go back to 2002’s “Catch Me If You Can” to see him play a character that actually seems to have joy in his life. “The Deep Blue Goodbye” could finally break that streak if DiCaprio plays the role of Travis McGee, “a self-described beach bum who lives aboard 52-foot houseboat the Busted Flush and alleviates his cash-flow problems by hiring on as a ‘salvage consultant.’ He recovers property for clients, taking a hefty percentage and getting into a lot of danger and romance in sun-drenched Florida.” The story is the first in a 21-volume series starring McGee and was originally published in 1964.
“Beach bum”, “danger and romance”, and “series” are terms I usually don’t associate with DiCaprio but they’re terms he might need considering his career trajectory. The last thing an actor wants is to have their name define what kind of film they’re in. Even before the audio of his on-set tirade broke online, Christian Bale was already known for playing dour, unsmiling, super-serious characters. DiCaprio’s got more charm but he’s reaching that point where a Leonardo DiCaprio-movie is a deathly-serious affair and it calls his range into question. There may not be any Oscars in “The Deep Blue Goodbye”, but it may provide something that DiCaprio would find far more useful: a change of pace.