Leonardo DiCaprio Is Teaming Up With Stephen King For New Movie

Leonardo DiCaprio's production company, Appian Way, is co-producing the Stephen King novel Billy Summers.

By Jennifer Asencio | Published

Leonardo DiCaprio may be starring in a screen adaptation of the Stephen King novel Billy Summers. Deadline reports that Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to the novel and that it is being produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company, Appian Way, in addition to JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot. With both the movie star and the director attached to the project, there is speculation that they will fulfill those roles again in the making of the movie.

Billy Summers was originally supposed to be a 10-episode series akin to other Bad Robot productions of the author’s work, including the Hulu series Castle Rock and 11.22.63. However, the studio decided that it should instead be a feature-length film and is developing it with that in mind. Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz have been hired to pen the script, with Leonardo Dicaprio’s company working with Bad Robot on pre-production of the Stephen King story.

This news has set the Hollywood rumor mill alight that Leonardo DiCaprio is already confirmed to be playing the eponymous Stephen King character, but no casting has been confirmed yet. It is also not certain that JJ Abrams will direct, although that rumor has been circulating also. While both production companies are involved in the pre-production phases of the film, it seems that everyone is waiting to see the script before they commit to any further role in the movie.

Billy Summers is about the titular character, a hitman who is looking to retire. He takes what is supposed to be his last job, which is to kill another hitman, Joel Allen, before Allen is set to appear in court for one of many murders he has committed, mostly for crime kingpins who suspect he will incriminate them. Leonardo DiCaprio is allegedly playing Billy Summers in the Stephen King story if the rumors swirling around are true.

While the author is known for writing horror novels that resonate with everyday people, he has also written touching and poignant stories about coming of age, freedom, and awakening that have nary a supernatural or horror plot among them. Leonardo DiCaprio would join the ranks of Tom Hanks, Morgan Freeman, Keifer Sutherland, and Sir Ian McKellen, who all starred in Stephen King stories that were dramatic and thought-provoking rather than scary or ghostly. As much as he has a knack for spookiness and terror, the same man who wrote The Shining also wrote The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and Apt Pupil.

It is surprising, between the wide portfolios of actor and author, that Leonardo DiCaprio hasn’t been involved in a Stephen King project before and that it took producing an adaptation of the writer’s novel for the two talents to intersect. However, it was only a matter of time, as Leonardo DiCaprio has been acting almost as long as Stephen King has been publishing novels. What Appian Way and JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot can do with the movie remains to be seen, but hopefully, both its lead actor and the film’s director have come built-in with the production companies.