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Beached On New Shores: Iconic DiCaprio Film To Receive TV Treatment

Almost 20 years after release, “The Beach” gets new life as TV prequel.

Cinema’s Golden Boy: Post-“Titanic” DiCaprio, at the height of his star-power, played against type as excitable, hotheaded backpacker Richard in the dark Danny Boyle release “The Beach” / image source: Peter Mountain, promotional photo from “The Beach” (2000, dir. Danny Boyle), property of 20th Century Fox

Almost 20 years after its initial release, Danny Boyle’s “The Beach” is set to be expanded in a prequel, confusingly set in the present day. Allegedly broadcast by distributor FX, the new series will again feature Richard, the same protagonist of Alex Garland’s original 1996 novel. Yet the show’s timeline, strangely, will be set somewhere around 2015/2016.

Why this baffling shift in time, for a prequel? Little explanation has yet been offered, so we’ll have stay tuned for this one.

In a recent interview with The Independent, the Oscar-winning filmmaker announced that “Pet Sematary” actress and television director Amy Seimetz would be taking the reins. Having already read two early scripts, Boyle is reportedly impressed with what is being done with his film. “It’s intriguing when you see it. I’ve read the first two scripts. I don’t know if they’ll have the courage to do it at FX, but you never know.”

Mistress of many trades: Writer-director Amy Seimtez behind the camera of “The Girlfriend Experience,” season 2 // image source: DigitalTrends.com, property of Starz

Adapted from Alex Garland’s debut novel, published in 1996 when the author was just 26, “The Beach” saw Leonardo DiCaprio’s first leading role since the behemoth “Titanic” had driven the world into a lust-frenzy for the floppy-haired, sweet-cheeked young actor. Obviously that kind of stardom comes at a price, leading DiCaprio to take a two-year hiatus from the spotlight. Only a brief, and highly meta, cameo in Woody Allen’s bizarre 1998 release “Celebrity” punctuated his absence from the silver screen.

There were two available options for the 25-year-old actor at that point: shatter his reputation with the title role of “American Psycho”, which was released soon after “The Beach,” or he could down a less conventional route with Boyle, a visionary director whose booze-hued and powder-sprinkled style, splashed all over earlier release “Trainspotting” (1996), would leave us unable to see Scotland the same ever again.

Of course the role of the cut-throat Wall Street yuppie at the heart of Bret Easton Ellis’s wickedly macabre 1991 novel, “American Psycho,” was immortalised by Christian Bale and has since become one of the most iconic performances of modern cinema.

Happy to see me?: With an offer of $20m, DiCaprio was very nearly cast in the era-defining role of Patrick Bateman. Yet the project was so lengthily delayed that Leo jumped ship to work on “The Beach,” leaving original choice Christian Bale to get the part // image source: still from “American Psycho” (2000, dir. Mary Harron); Andrzej Sekuła, director of photography

But it seems as if this new prequel series is being moulded in a pair of safe hands. Exhibiting a passionate interest in the project, Seimetz said in a recent interview with IndieWire, “I’m actually really territorial about my writing and directing. It takes time because I want it to be mine. I’ve turned down a lot of pilots and other people’s scripts.”

Seimetz won’t invest in a project unless she really has an artistic connection with it, so this style of working process certainly bodes well for “The Beach” getting a high-quality adaptation for TV.

Keep your eyes peeled – this should be a good one.

If you’re still on the hunt for more top-quality DiCaprio content, then check out our piece on the rather embarrassing bet he won over “Inception” co-star Tom Hardy. Clue: It involves an Oscar and a bad tat. Take a look.

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