Warner Bros. Could Launch A Leonardo DiCaprio Spy Franchise With 'Satori'

Would you like to see Leonardo DiCaprio playing a WWII-era character raised in Japan, trained as an assassin and playing a part in the political power games of the early '50s? Warner Bros. is thinking you might, and so the studio is developing a film based on Don Winslow's novel Satori, which features exactly that sort of character.

Deadline says that WB picked up the rights to the novel and is beginning the process of developing a film as a star vehicle for DiCaprio. That means this one is a way off — Shane Salerno is only just being hired to script based on the book.

The novel is actually a follow-up to the 1979 book Shibumi, by Trevanian. The recap of that book positions the character as something one could easily see DiCaprio playing: "Nicholai Hel survived the destruction of Hiroshima to emerge as the world's most artful lover and its most accomplished—and well-paid—assassin. Hel is a genius, a mystic, and a master of language and culture, and his secret is his determination to attain a rare kind of personal excellence, a state of effortless perfection known only as shibumi."

But Satori is a prequel to that novel, telling how Hel came to be a master; here's the recap:

Satori opens in the fall of 1951, in the throes of the Korean War. Twenty-six-year-old Hel has spent the last three years in solitary confinement at the hands of the Americans. Now his captors are offering to release him—at a price. He must go to Beijing and kill the Soviet Union's commissioner to China. Though Hel is blond with striking green eyes, his worldview is more Eastern than Western. (He was raised by an aristocratic Russian mother in Shanghai and later lived in Japan, where he studied the ancient and notoriously challenging board game, Go.) Hel is a master of hoda korosu, "the naked kill," and blessed with an uncanny sense of proximity, which makes him hyperaware of potential danger. He'll need every tool in his deadly dossier to earn freedom. Winslow renders breathless suspense and a cast of dark, devious characters from all corners of the globe.