Leonardo DiCaprio will star in a feature film based on the non-fiction JFK assassination book "Legacy of Secrecy," written by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann. DiCaprio will also be producing on behalf of his production house, Appian Way. Warner Brothers, who is responsible for the success of the celebrated film JFK
, plans to release the DiCaprio film in time for the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination in 2013.
DiCaprio will play FBI informant Jack Van Laningham, who obtained the confession of Mafia godfather Carlos Marcello to having ordered JFK's assassination.
As part of a dangerous and long-secret undercover operation, the FBI positioned Van Laningham to become the confidant of Marcello, who ruled organized crime in Louisiana and most of Texas for decades.
The FBI's clandestine operation with Van Laningham and the full story behind Marcello's JFK confession remained secret for decades, until Waldron and Hartmann published the declassified FBI files from the National Archives in 2009's "Legacy of Secrecy."
Carlos Marcello, who died in 1993, has not yet been the subject of a feature film, though he has long been of interest to authorities investigating JFK's murder. In 1979, a Congressional Committee concluded that "Marcello had the motive, means, and opportunity to assassinate President Kennedy." Even though FBI and Secret Service files cited in "Legacy of Secrecy" show that more than a dozen of Marcello's men and family members were questioned or arrested by authorities for JFK's murder, Marcello's name did not appear in the 1964 Warren Report, which consisted of an 888-page investigation into the assassination presented to President Johnson.
Producing with DiCaprio will be his father, George DiCaprio, who brought the book to his son's attention. An acclaimed director who has previously worked with Leonardo has expressed interest in directing the film.
Van Laningham and Waldron are represented by attorney Phillip Rosen. Because the 900+ page "Legacy of Secrecy" contains so much new information from the National Archives that can't fit in the film — including the Mafia's role in the assassination of Martin Luther King and in Watergate — Warner Brothers has permitted Waldron to keep documentary film and TV rights. Earl Katz, an Executive Producer of the "Legacy" film for Appian Way and Warner, will produce one or more of those documentaries.