Apple Original Films has landed the rights to the book, due out in April 2023. The project reteams the key players and companies behind the recently-wrapped adaptation of Grann’s true-crime tome, Killers of the Flower Moon.
Scorsese is attached to direct with DiCaprio attached to star in Wager. Producing are Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas of Imperative Entertainment, Scorsese via Sikelia Productions and DiCaprio and partner Jennifer Davisson via their Appian Way Productions
Richard Plepler will executive produce through his banner, Eden Productions.
Set in the 1740s, Wager’s story is set in motion when a patched-together boat with 30 emaciated men landed on the coast of Brazil. The men were the surviving crew of British ship that was chasing a Spanish vessel and had crashed onto an island in South America’s Patagonia region. Their tales of surviving the seas and elements made them heroes.
However, six months later another vessel, even more beat up than the first one, ended up on the coat of Chile, this one with three men. These new sailors charged that the other men were actually mutineers.
As accusations and counter-acusations flew, the British Admiralty set a special trial to uncover the truth of what exactly happened on the island, exposing a story of not just a captain and crew struggling to survive while battling some the most extreme elements on the planet, but also battling their own human natures.
DiCaprio is coming off starring with Robert De Niro in Flower Moon, which Scorsese directed for Apple. DiCaprio, Scorsese and Imperative produced the period crime drama, set in the 1920s Oklahoma and depicting the serial murder of members of the oil-wealthy Osage Nation. The movie is in post although a release date has not yet been set.
DiCaprio and Scorsese are one of the great pairings in cinema, and in the last 25 years the two have worked together on six movies that have generated multiple Oscar wins and box office hits. The list includes Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island and The Wolf of Wall Street, with Flower Moon next to be released.
On top of Flower Moon, Grann’s previously adapted works include 2016’s The Lost City of Z, produced by Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment and the 2018 Robert Redford drama, The Old Man & the Gun. His non-fiction book The White Darkness is being developed by Soo Hugh (Pachinko, The Terror) as an Apple Original limited series that will star Tom Hiddleston.
Imperative, meanwhile, currently has its acclaimed limited series Black Bird, starring Taron Egerton, unfolding weekly on Apple TV+.