Not even waiting for the thick, black plumes of diesel exhaust to clear, Leonardo DiCaprio has decided to jump into the driver’s seat of the 2015 Volkswagen emissions scandal, accelerating smoothly towards a film adaptation of a book that hasn’t been written yet. According to The Hollywood Reporter, DiCaprio’s Appian Way production company has purchased the rights to a book proposal by Jack Ewing. (The The New York Times journalist, and not J.R. Ewing’s cousin from Dallas; that would just be weird.)
In a move that should produce cries of “too soon!” from agonizing fans of the Golf Turbo Diesel, Nick Drake commercials, and Fahrvergnügen t-shirts, the film will explore how Volkswagen programmed its cars to detect when they were being tested for emissions. As a result, vehicles were passing emissions standards testing, then hitting the road with emission rates as much as “40 times higher,” a phrase previously reserved for VW bus owners.
Covering Volkswagen for the The New York Times, Ewing’s articles chronicle how the scandal is singlehandedly unravelling decades of precision-engineered advertising, originally commissioned to help customers forget the German auto manufacturer’s unfortunate historical origins.