Paramount Pictures has acquired distribution rights to the Stephen Talty adaptation, The Black Hand, with Leonardo DiCaprio set to star, according to Deadline. The picture is being produced by The Gotham Group and DiCaprio’s Appian Way. The filmmaking team is currently searching for a screenwriter to adapt the novel.
The film will tell the story of Joe Petrosino, an NYPD cop who went after the titular Italian gang who moved their operations to the United States. Their calling card was a black hand, and they dealt in kidnapping in order to extort wealthy families. Upstanding Italian families in New York helped Petrosino behind-the-scenes despite their fear of retaliation.
Petrosino was an Italian immigrant himself, who made it one of his missions to put away Italian criminals who sullied his heritage; he succeeded in arresting and deporting dozens. Unfortunately, he would eventually die at the hands of the gang before being able to bust their operation. This all occurred at the turn of the 20th Century and the group would later become known as an early stepping stone for the Italian mafia. Petrosino is remembered today at the NYPD museum.
Leonardo DiCaprio will next star in The Ballad of Richard Jewell, which is rumored to be Clint Eastwood’s next project as well. Another of his adaptations, The Devil in the White City, has been in a production standstill for several years, however, director Martin Scorsese recently revealed that he is revisiting the script this month to restart production.