HBO has signed Beat The Reaper, a drama project from New Regency to be executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. The piece will be written by Brian Koppelman and David Levein, the scribes behind Ocean's Thirteen, with both attached to executive produce and direct. Beat The Reaper will be based on the debut book of the same name by physician/novelist Josh Bazell.
The show's premise is about a young ER doctor whose life is upended when a patient comes through his ward that recognizes the internist from his old life - when he used to work for a notorious crime family. As his past comes crashing back and his enemies from his old life try to destroy him, he tries to hold his new life together while discovering that everything he knew about his past may have been wrong.
New Regency will co-produce the HBO project with Appian Way and LBI Entertainment, with are DiCaprio and Rick Yorn's companys repectively. These companies came together three years ago when New Regency acquired the rights to the book just as it was published in January 2009 for a feature film.
Julie Yorn, DiCaprop and Jennifer Davisson Killoran of Appian Way, were attached to produce the movie, with DiCaprio attached to star and Koppelman and Levein due to write.
Beat The Reaper was signed to HBO, despite intense interest from four other networks and makers New Regency's first TV project since the 2008 shutdown of Regency Television.
For DiCaprio this deal comes on the heels of another sale to HBO of a drama project based on the book, The Lobotomist written by Jack El- Hai, which is being adapted for a series. Koppelman and Levien are most infamous for the ABC drama The Street Lawyer and created, Tilt, for ESPN which they also directed the pilot for.