Duelling Howard Hughes biopics -- one teaming Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, the other with "Memento" director Christopher Nolan and Jim Carrey -- are racing into production, with Scorsese grabbing an early lead.
Scorsese and DiCaprio most recently worked together on the epic, often-delayed "Gangs Of New York," but Variety reports that the pair is committed to film "Gladiator" screenwriter John Logan's script based on the life of the flamboyant billionaire, aviator, industrialist, and movie mogul.
Castle Rock has agreed to finance Nolan and Carrey's effort, which is based on the Richard Hack book "Hughes: The Private Diaries, Memos And Letters." But Variety said Nolan is still in the script-writing phase of his project.
DiCaprio originally began to develop the film with "Ali" director Michael Mann, and the two had set the project up at New Line Cinema, where it floundered during a management shuffle.
After directing two big-budget non-fiction films -- "Ali" and the tobacco/TV news expose "The Insider" -- Mann offered to step aside to allow Scorsese to helm the project.
Scorsese and DiCaprio had originally been rumoured to re-team on a film about Alexander The Great, but Scorsese was keen on the Hughes project. Mann and DiCaprio had previously talked up another biopic, based on the life of James Dean, the report said.
Variety said the Logan script focuses on Hughes' early years and ends in the 1950s, before his later reclusive, paranoid years.