Mystic River. Shutter Island. Gone Baby Gone. Each of these heartbreaking, pulse-pounding and critically acclaimed movies came from the enigma-manufacturing mind of Boston-born novelist Dennis Lehane. Based on his absorbing detective novels, each thriller offers not only a frightful mystery but also a flawed yet fantastic cast of characters that bind viewers to a fast-paced and twisting journey. Likewise, they all attracted noteworthy directors, and generally made an impressive showing at the box office. So, it wasn’t a question if another Lehane tale would be adapted, but rather a question of when.
Deadline brings an end to this query with news that Warner Bros. has just bought the rights to Live By Night. Notably, this is the second part of Lehane’s in-the-works trilogy, which breaks from his established detective novel streak and instead follows two families—one Boston-based and white, one Tulsa-based and black—through the turn of the century and all the changes that entails. The first book, The Given Day, was originally optioned by Sam Raimi, but as that deal has since expired, Warner Bros. has snatched up the rights to the entire trilogy, hoping to create a vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio.
It’s likely DiCaprio is being eyed to play Aiden “Danny” Coughlin, an Irish cop who, in the first book, is drawn into the tricky political landscape of the emerging worker’s union movement. However, as Live By Night isn’t slated to hit shelves until the fall, we have little idea what Danny will be up to in this Prohibition-set drama. Nonetheless, Warner Bros. produced Mystic River and DiCaprio fronted Shutter Island, so this seems a promising combination for Lehane’s latest movie adaption. To those worrying that it’d be strange to begin with the trilogy’s second book, it’s worth noting that Gone Baby Gone was actually the fourth in his Kenzie-Genaro series, a fact that wasn’t evident within the film at all. Besides, as the studio now has the rights to all three books, it’s possible the film will pull from both the first and second books. Though at this juncture–with no screenwriters mentioned–it’s really too soon to tell.