Leonardo DiCaprio certainly seems determined to portray a historical Russian figure (or maybe just one named Vladimir): The erstwhile frontiersman, who’s attached to play the “mad monk” Grigori Rasputin in a Warner Bros. film, recently mused to a German publication (via The Guardian) that he’d like to play Russian president Vladimir Putin. DiCaprio said he finds the politician “very, very, very interesting”—that third “very” presumably prompted by Putin’s propensity for posing shirtless. While he waits for a Putin picture to get off the ground, DiCaprio could soon star in a movie about former (well, first) Soviet leader, Vladimir Lenin. That is, if he can find a way to win over members of the Communists Of Russia party, who have vowed to protest the film if he is cast.
Page Six picked up the story from international news agency RIA Novosti, which reports that Communist party leaders in St. Petersburg have sent a letter to Lenfilm, Russia’s oldest film studio and the group behind the Lenin film and offer, to object to DiCaprio’s casting. It seems they want a Russian actor to play the Communist revolutionary, and are either unaware of or unmoved by DiCaprio’s Russian ancestry. In their letter, the Communist leaders say they “would launch civil disobedience actions” if the studio moves forward with the movie with DiCaprio as the lead. These actions are described as blocking the entrance to the studio to deny the cast and crew access, which would probably prove effective in delaying production for any scenes not being filmed on location. So if he takes the part, DiCaprio should probably hope for a spring or summer shooting schedule.