Did you hear? They're turning Leonardo DiCaprio's The Beach — famously known as the third in his string of follow-up movies to Titanic — into a television show. Although the program will skew more towards the 1996 novel upon which the film is based, and less on the polarizing theatrical flop, the title will still forever be associated with being a Leo vehicle that ran out of gas.
Oh, and did you hear about that other thing? They're doing a Romeo and Juliet-themed drama over at ABC. Something about feuding families fighting for control over Venice, California, and their pugnacious, wide-eyed kids who roam the beach looking for trouble and love. Sound familiar? It sounds exactly like another Leo movie: Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, perhaps most notable for its dramatic use of titular mathematical symbols.
Alas, that means two DiCaprio dramas are being adapted for the small screen. Television has always been friendly to Leo (thank Growing Pains for that one), but that doesn't necessarily mean that Leo's repertoire will be friendly to television. And really, of all the films Leo's done, why did they have to choose the two awful ones about beaches? There's a whole long list of DiCaprio vehicles to choose from — so why not go further and adapt these other, better gems into future Emmy-winning hits?
Catch Me If You Can
It's The Fugitive meets Psych (and the good parts of Pan Am). Every week, young Frank Abagnale Jr. adopts a different occupation or persona in order to procure more counterfeit money, sleep with women and escape his pursuer, Carl Hanratty (who in the television version would still be with his wife and daughter, at least in the pilot). Supporting characters like Frank's parents and love interest Brenda would round out the first season cast.
Gangs of New York
In today's landscape of prestige series like Hell on Wheels, Spartacus and Game of Thrones, we can surely find the budget to reinvigorate Martin Scorsese's 2002 drama about — well, gangs in New York — on a small scale. The serial weekly format of television would suit both the sweeping story arcs and episodic micro-plots. Hell, the title and costumes alone are as much Emmy fodder as anything on Mad Men.
Are most of Leo's movies more appropriate for HBO? Probably — and especially when we're talking about another of DiCaprio's Scorsese collaborations. This gangster flick about a policeman who's a mob spy and a mobster who's a police spy could make waves on television, waxing Sopranos but skewing more towards The Wire or The Shield. If you devote equal time and attention to the mafia scenes as you do to the cop scenes, you're bound to have sparks flying — and enough dead bodies to make Joffrey Baratheon weep.
The Basketball Diaries
True, it's a little harsh for The CW, but angst teenage dramas have always done well on television, especially when you throw in a little athleticism, sex, preppy uniforms and an unhealthy amount of heroin. Maybe TBS?
A little The Killing, a little American Horror Story and a whole lot of Lost, this would be one hell of a paranormal thriller to wrap your head around every week. And yet, I can't imagine a better-suited serial plotline. As long as the island isn't purgatory.
Follow Marc on Twitter @MarcSnetiker
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]