Why didn’t anyone tell me there are Ulysses Grant and Theodore Roosevelt biopics in the works from Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese? And that Leonardo DiCaprio is attached to star in both of them?
The Hollywood Reporter asked a bunch of historians whether Leo should play Grant or Roosevelt. Looking at their pictures above I’d say he could pull off either. My preference is that he plays Roosevelt and Jared Harris plays Grant as he did in Spielberg’s Lincoln.
More important to me, though, is what kind of biopic they will be. Will they be like Lincoln, beautifully made, regal, and safe but not comprehensive, focused on a specific moment instead of the full life? Will they be like J. Edgar—or a Scorsese’s The Aviator for that matter—which tried to pack in decades of history and aging makeup, to the detriment of a cohesive and compelling portrait?
Or will they be something else entirely? I hope so. Love me some Lincoln, but Grant was no Lincoln. He deserves a director willing to go dark and gritty and avoid the hagiography that has recently started to envelope Grant.
Scorsese doing Roosevelt is growing on me though. Being a New Yorker himself will help him capture the fiery aspect of TR’s spirit, which has some modern resonance.
I’m gonna watch the hell out of these projects regardless.