Variety – Paramount has beaten out Universal in a seven-figure bidding war for the rights to Walter Isaacson’s book on Leonardo da Vinci, Variety can confirm. The biopic will star fellow Leo, Leonardo DiCaprio.
DiCaprio will also produce the film under his Appian Way banner alongside president of production Jennifer Davisson.
ICM Partners brokered the deal for Isaacson and his book, “Leonardo da Vinci,” in advance of its release. Universal attempted to outbid Paramount on Friday with bidding continuing into Saturday morning.
DiCaprio’s desire to portray da Vinci on film is no coincidence. The actor’s mother famously claims to have chosen the artist as her son’s namesake when she felt an in utero DiCaprio kick for the first time while examining a da Vinci piece at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy back in 1974.
Isaacson is a New York Times Best Selling author who has written biographies on other notable thinkers such as Albert Einstein, Henry Kissinger, Steve Jobs, and Benjamin Franklin. Most recently, his 2007 book “Einstein: His Life and Universe” was adapted into National Geographic’s “Genius,” starring Geoffrey Rush as Einstein.
“Leonardo da Vinci” will be released Oct. 17, 2017.