There’s a good chance Leonardo DiCaprio may finally get his wish to star in the big screen drama The Crowded Room, taking on a role he has wanted to play for almost 20 years. DiCaprio is in negotiations to portray the late Billy Milligan, the first person to successfully use the condition of multiple personality disorder as a defense in court. His lawyers argued that two of his alternate personalities had committed crimes without Milligan’s knowledge.
The film will be based on Milligan’s fascinating true story, as chronicled in Daniel Keyes’ book The Minds of Billy Milligan, published in 1981. Keyes described Milligan’s tale on his website: “Out of control of his own actions, Billy Milligan was a man tormented by 24 distinct personalities battling for supremacy over his body—a battle that culminated when he awoke in jail, arrested for the kidnap and rape of three women. In a landmark trial, Billy was acquitted of his crimes by reason of insanity caused by multiple personality.”
The feature film adaptation is being written by Jason Smilovic (Lucky Number Slevin) and first-time screenwriter Todd Katzberg, who was a production assistant on Smilovic’s TV series Kidnapped.
New Regency is on board to produce, along with DiCaprio’s production company, Appian Way, which has backed many prominent films, including The Wolf of Wall Street and Shutter Island.
No word yet on a director for the project, but many high-profile filmmakers, including James Cameron, have expressed interest in bringing this story to the big screen.