Timothy Leary lived one of the great lives of the late 20th century. His journey from psychologist to drug guru and countercultural figurehead is fascinating. Leonardo DiCaprio certainly seems to think so – his production company, Appian Way, has hired Obie-winning playwright Craig Lucas and Timothy Leary archivist Michael Horowitz to write a biopic about the man, with the possibility of DiCaprio starring.
The film would follow Leary from about 1940, when he was in West Point, to about 1970, when he broke out of jail (I think the most interesting part of his life may have been after the jailbreak – Leary escaped to Algeria to live with exiled Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver, who held him hostage. Leary had to escape from there as well). Leary was certainly one of the great forward thinkers of our time, as well as one of the great hucksters. He first got into psychedelics by experimenting with the wonderful psilocybin before moving into LSD. He wrote a very useful book called The Psychedelic Experience, and even tried to start an LSD-based religion to get around the criminalization of the chemical.
DiCaprio knew Leary before his death (some of Leary’s ashes were shot into space), and has been trying to get a movie about the guy made for quite some time.