DiCaprio’s Appian Way, Paramount Land Cuban Mob Drama ‘The Corporation’ with Del Toro to Star

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Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way, which produced his Oscar vehicle “The Revenant,” just nabbed the rights to the film adaptation of T.J. English’s upcoming nonfiction book, “The Corporation: An Epic Story of the Cuban American Underworld.” Paramount is also producing the film, which is based on the real life Cuban mob saga that took place in the 1950s through the 1980s in Miami and New York.

English’s book, which will be released in 2017 by HarperCollins’ William Morrow, centers on the leader of the Cuban mafia, Jose Miguel Battle Sr., also known as “The Godfather.” He started out his career as Fulgencio Batista’s bag man, in charge of bringing him his cut from the casinos in Cuba.

He later escaped and fled to the U.S., where he and others were trained by the CIA to invade Cuba in the Bay of Pigs. Battle would save 28 of his men in the skirmish, making him a hero to many Cuban-Americans. Several of his unit would form “The Corporation,” which started out running a numbers racket, but would evolve into money laundering and murder.

Battle and “The Corporation” would always dream of taking down Castro and reclaiming their country, and ultimately became financiers of the anti-Castro movement. Eventually the group was taken down by a detective who had pursued them for over 15 years.

David Matthews, one of the writers for HBO’s “Vinyl,” is adapting the book. “Sicario” star Benicio del Toro will portray Battle in the film. No word yet on a director or other stars for the film.

DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson will produce with The Picture Company’s Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman. Jaydee Freixas and Tony Gonzales, who hold the rights to the book, are also producing.

DiCaprio’s production company has had many prestige projects of late. In addition to “The Revenant,” which nabbed 12 Oscar nominations last year, the company also produced “The Wolf of Wall Street” and Ben Affleck’s latest, “Live by Night.”