Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
2015 Tribeca Film Festival Line-Up Announced: James Franco’s ‘Adderall Diaries,’ Olivia Wilde In ‘Meadowland’ & More 2015 Tribeca Film Festival Line-Up Announced: James Franco’s ‘Adderall Diaries,’ Olivia Wilde In ‘Meadowland’ & More First Look: Joseph Gordon-Levitt As Edward Snowden In Oliver Stone's 'Snowden' First Look: Joseph Gordon-Levitt As Edward Snowden In Oliver Stone's 'Snowden' Drew Goddard To Write And Direct Sony & Marvel's 'The Spectacular Spider-Man'; 'Sinister Six' Scrapped Drew Goddard To Write And Direct Sony & Marvel's 'The Spectacular Spider-Man'; 'Sinister Six' Scrapped Premature Oscar Predictions: The 2016 Best Picture Contenders Premature Oscar Predictions: The 2016 Best Picture Contenders Watch: Original Short Film Version Of 'Whiplash' Starring Oscar Winner J.K. Simmons Watch: Original Short Film Version Of 'Whiplash' Starring Oscar Winner J.K. Simmons Watch: Nifty Video Examines David Fincher’s Subtle Repetition Of Framing And Blocking In 'Gone Girl' Watch: Nifty Video Examines David Fincher’s Subtle Repetition Of Framing And Blocking In 'Gone Girl' Sigourney Weaver Says She'll Be Playing A New Character In The 'Avatar' Sequels Sigourney Weaver Says She'll Be Playing A New Character In The 'Avatar' Sequels Margot Robbie Says 'Suicide Squad' Is More 'The Dark Knight' Than 'Avengers'; David Ayer Says Joker Is "Majestic" Margot Robbie Says 'Suicide Squad' Is More 'The Dark Knight' Than 'Avengers'; David Ayer Says Joker Is "Majestic" Kristen Stewart Joins Kelly Reichardt’s Untitled Montana Drama With Michelle Williams & More Kristen Stewart Joins Kelly Reichardt’s Untitled Montana Drama With Michelle Williams & More Watch: Paul Thomas Anderson's Sophomore Short 'Cigarettes & Coffee' Watch: Paul Thomas Anderson's Sophomore Short 'Cigarettes & Coffee' Another Oscar? First Look At Eddie Redmayne In Tom Hooper's 'The Danish Girl' Another Oscar? First Look At Eddie Redmayne In Tom Hooper's 'The Danish Girl' 'Prisoners' & 'Enemy' Director Denis Villeneuve To Helm 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Harrison Ford Confirmed To Return 'Prisoners' & 'Enemy' Director Denis Villeneuve To Helm 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Harrison Ford Confirmed To Return The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far "I F*cked It Up": Neill Blomkamp Says He Wants To Go Back To 'Elysium' And "Do It Correctly" "I F*cked It Up": Neill Blomkamp Says He Wants To Go Back To 'Elysium' And "Do It Correctly" New Looks At Daniel Craig, Dave Bautista, And Lea Seydoux In 'Spectre' New Looks At Daniel Craig, Dave Bautista, And Lea Seydoux In 'Spectre' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki

Leonardo DiCaprio-Produced Adaptation Of Acclaimed Novel 'Beat The Reaper' Heading To HBO

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist December 14, 2011 at 7:01PM

Not that we don't love the thing, but we're a little dispirited by the extent to which top-flight filmmakers are ready to jump ship to HBO. Increasingly the home to A-list directors like Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann and Darren Aronofsky, it's becoming one of the few places that smart, prestigious adult projects are treated as if the people who paid for them aren't ashamed of them (witness the push given to, say, "Boardwalk Empire" versus Fox Searchlight's burying of "Margaret"). But furthermore, it seems to be becoming the answer to what happens when a big-screen project hits the rocks.
1
Beat The Reaper

Not that we don't love the thing, but we're a little dispirited by the extent to which top-flight filmmakers are ready to jump ship to HBO. Increasingly the home to A-list directors like Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann and Darren Aronofsky, it's becoming one of the few places that smart, prestigious adult projects are treated as if the people who paid for them aren't ashamed of them (witness the push given to, say, "Boardwalk Empire" versus Fox Searchlight's burying of "Margaret"). But furthermore, it seems to be becoming the answer to what happens when a big-screen project hits the rocks.

Ron Howard's megabudgeted version of "The Dark Tower" set up its TV portion at the network after Universal pulled the plug on the project, while only a couple of days ago, Stephen Daldry told how he's planning on making his long-awaited adaptation of "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" as an eight-part miniseries for the pay-cable channel. And now, Leonardo DiCaprio is becoming the latest glittering name to be associated with HBO, with a second project joining the Robert Schwentke-helmed "The Lobotomist" at the network.

The star's production company Appian Way has been working on an adaptation of Josh Bazell's acclaimed crime novel "Beat The Reaper," about an E.R. doctor who used to work for a mob family and is outed by a patient, for a while. The project had been set up at Fox and New Regency, with a script by "Rounders" and "Ocean's Thirteen" writers Brian Koppelman and David Levien, and oddly, "Disturbia" director D.J. Caruso told us earlier in the year that he was going to make it his next project, something swiftly and comprehensively denied by the studio.

Fox have seemingly given it up, as Deadline reports that the project's now in the works, still under the banner of New Regency and Appian Way, joined by LBI Entertainment, as a potential HBO series, with the network beating out three other suitors. It seems that DiCaprio's no longer attached in an acting capacity (it would be a hell of a coup for pay-cable if he was...), but we're sure that, should the project move forward, there'll be no shortage of names wanting to get involved further.

As we said, however, we've got mixed feelings about this one; we're concerned that, with so many projects coming to HBO, and only so many prime-time slots available, it's becoming as much a graveyard of projects as anything else, and we wonder how many of these announced projects will make it to the air. Ultimately, we'd always pick the big screen over the small, and we worry that too many potentially great films may be being lost to television, particularly if they end up being changed in the attempt to make an open-ended, long-running series. Still, "Beat The Reaper" has landed somewhere where it can be as dark and uncompromising as the source material, and we guess that's something to celebrate.

This article is related to: Leonardo DiCaprio, HBO , Brian Koppelman, David Levien


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates