DiCaprio, Scott Team On Drug Kingpin Film

20th Century Fox has won an intense auction for “The Cartel,” the new book by author Don Winslow (“Savages”) which Ridley Scott has committed to direct the film adaptation of.

The sprawling crime epic closes out the story that began in Winslow’s 2006 novel “The Power of the Dog,” with both books dealing with the futility of the drug war and the battle between DEA agent Art Keller and Mexican drug kingpin Adan Berrera.

In ‘Dog’, Keller befriends Berrera on his way up the ranks. In ‘Cartel’, Berrera escapes prison and a bloody feud breaks out. Leonardo DiCaprio is being courted to play the role of Keller.

Fox reportedly handed out a commitment of nearly $6 million for book rights and screenwriting fees to both ‘Cartel’ and ‘Dog’ with Shane Salerno penning the script.

The studio beat out DiCaprio’s own Appian Way, Jerry Bruckheimer, Sony Pictures, an offer by HBO for a series spearheaded by “True Detective: creator Nic Pizzolatto, and a personal appeal from filmmaker Yann Demange (“’71”). Scott’s commitment to direct was said to be the main reason for the studio winning the project.

Source: Deadline