In a pairing of two A-list talents, J.J. Abrams and Leonardo DiCaprio are teaming up to produce an adaptation of Stephen King‘s bestselling novel Billy Summers, which has been acquired by Warner Bros.
The project has been in the works for the past year, as Abrams’ Bad Robot and writers Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz originally envisioned Billy Summers as a 10-episode limited series. However, they recently decided that the material was better suited for a feature, which is when DiCaprio and his company Appian Way came aboard.
If Zwick and Herskovitz knock the script out of the park, Abrams may very well wind up directing the movie, and more importantly, DiCaprio could even wind up playing the title character — though Deadline (which broke the Billy Summers news) has certainly reported on a long line of potential DiCaprio vehicles that have yet to come to fruition.
In King’s acclaimed book, Billy Summers is a hitman who has to do “one last job” before he retires. So he moves to a quiet town and pretends to be a writer, though he’s secretly plotting to kill a fellow hitman whose mob boss employers are worried that he’ll rat them out. However, Billy doesn’t quite trust his own employers, and his suspicions bear out when things start to go wrong after he completes his mission.
Bad Robot is no stranger to the nuances of adapting King’s work, having produced Hulu’s limited series 11.22.63 as well as the streamer’s Castle Rock series, and the Apple TV+ drama Lisey’s Story, though that one wasn’t nearly as well received as the others.
CAA represents Abrams, Zwick, and Herskovitz, the latter of whom is also repped by 3 Arts. Elsewhere, DiCaprio is repped by LBI Entertainment and King is repped by Rand Holston.