Leonardo DiCaprio to Play Japanese-Trained Assassin in “Sartori”

In 1979, Daniel Trevanian unleashed upon the world "Shibumi," an international spy-thriller about Nicholas Hel, a half-Russian, half-Japanese assassin trained in Tokyo. Leonardo DiCaprio soon will be bringing Hel to the big screen.

DiCaprio has signed on to star as Hel in an adaptation of "Sartori," Don Winslow's prequel to "Shibumi", reported Deadline. "Sartori", which came out in March, finds Hel being held by the during the Korean War by U.S. forces willing to release only if he agrees to carry out a suicide mission for them.

Here's the synopsis from Winslow's website:

It is the fall of 1951, and the Korean War is raging. Twenty-six-year-old Nicholai Hel has spent the last three years in solitary confinement at the hands of the Americans. Hel is a master of hoda korosu, or “naked kill,” is fluent in seven languages, and has honed extraordinary “proximity sense” - an extra-awareness of the presence of danger. He has the skills to be the world’s most fearsome assassin and now the CIA needs him.

The Americans offer Hel freedom, money, and a neutral passport in exchange for one small service: to go to Beijing and kill the Soviet Union’s commissioner to China. It’s almost certainly a suicide mission, but Hel accepts. Now he must survive chaos, violence, suspicion, and betrayal while trying to achieve his ultimate goal of satori - the possibility of true understanding and harmony with the world.

At the risk of sounding like an effete snob, we don't normally read spy thrillers, but we've read "Shibumi," and it is awesome, and one can only assume "Sartori" will lead to "Shibumi" hitting the big screen as well, which has very excited.

Winslow's "Savages," about a pair of California pot dealers art war with a Mexican drug cartel, is currently being adapted by Oliver Stone, with Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson and Blake Lively in the leads. It's due Sept. 28, 2012.

DiCarpio can next be seen Nov. 9 playing the notorious FBI director in "J. Edgar," and is currently shooting "The Great Gatsby" with Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher and Tobey Maguire for director Baz Luhrman. "Gatsby" is due November of 2012,

Contact Us