Spielberg and DiCaprio Could Team Up for Lionsgate’s Ulysses S. Grant Pic

     May 17, 2018


You know what the good, movie-going people of this world are clamoring for Hollywood to give us? A biopic of 18th U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant. And who better to team up on such a project than Steven Spielberg and Leonardo DiCaprio? The Catch Me If You Can director/actor team could reunite for the biopic that’s being produced by DiCaprio and his Appian Way partner Jennifer Davisson for Lionsgate, but it’s still early days for that discussion, as Deadline reports.

Their write-up has three-time Oscar-winner Spielberg directing Oscar-winner DiCaprio in the presidential role for Grant, if the movie keeps the inspired title from the best-selling bio book from Ron Chernow. Appian Way and Lionsgate are keeping the adaptation in the family since David James Kelly, who scripted Otto Bathurst‘s Robin Hood picture for them, will adapt the biography for the screen. We’ll stress again that the Grant team-up is still in early discussions since both award-winning filmmakers’ schedules will likely be difficult to reconcile.


Image via Penguin Press

Spielberg has the new Indiana Jones and West Side Story slated for his next two films, following up on this year’s popcorn flick Ready Player One. DiCaprio, now hopefully well and truly recovered from The Revenant, is getting back into the Quentin Tarantino game with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Keeping it Presidential, however, Spielberg is apparently mulling a spiritual follow-up to his 2012 biopic Lincoln, while DiCaprio is also set to star in the title role of the Martin Scorsese-directed Teddy Roosevelt picture set up through Appian Way and Paramount. These two have a lot going on outside of Grant, but the picture in question is now being reported as a priority project thanks in part to Chernow’s Pulitzer Prize-winning status and “Hamilton!” claim to fame, having written the biography that served as source material for Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s hit musical.

For Spielberg, Grant could offer the opportunity to reframe the U.S. Civil War. Where Lincoln allowed him to explore the country’s conflict from the highest office in the land, Grant could give Spielberg a more “boots on the ground” military approach. And since Grant, despite his personal troubles, become a trusted general of President Lincoln, maybe he could even pull Daniel Day-Lewis out of retirement (again) for a cameo or more substantial role. Grant crossed paths with other notable names from history of course, crossing strategic sabres with Robert E. Lee, stamping out the Ku Klux Klan, and collaborating with Mark Twain throughout his life. There’s a lot to work with here, and in Chernow’s book, so we’ll have to wait and see if the material proves juicy enough to lure both Spielberg and DiCaprio back to the 19th century.

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