When casting news for "Catch Me If You Can" surfaced in mid-2001, the only significant name attached was Leonardo DiCaprio. Leo's name got studio execs tingly four years ago, but with the "Titanic" demographic creeping into late teendom, Leo's wattage doesn't have the moth-to-the-flame draw of day's past. "Catch Me," at the time, had the buzz of a "Biodome" sequel. But now, six months later, the addition of Steven Spielberg as director/producer and Tom Hanks as co-star has made "Catch Me" one of the most intriguing projects in development. Recent news of Christoper Walken's possible involvement further whets the appetite, especially if Spielberg finds a way to make him fly.
The story follows the true-life exploits of con-man Frank Abagnale, Jr (DiCaprio). For five yearsall before his 21st birthdayAbagnale criss-crossed the globe posing as a Pan Am pilot, a surgeon, a lawyer, and a sociology professor, all the while raking in millions through his check-bouncing scam. FBI agent Joe Shaye (Hanks) trailed Abagnale and eventually nabbed him, but Abagnale emerged a mere five years later and soon transitioned into a consultant career with the FBI.
Slated for a November 27 release and featuring a cast with dramatic talent, "Catch Me" might appear to be a holiday drama gunning for Oscar contention. But online reviews of Abagnale's book portray the story as one where you root for the bad guy, so the film will probably reside in the same crime-comedy genre as 2001's smirking "Ocean's Eleven."