After 'Gladiator' ushered in a new sword-and-sandal era, it seemed that another favorite genre of the Technicolor era, the Viking epic, couldn't be far behind. Sadly, all we got in the way of Viking flicks were the disappointing 'The 13th Warrior' and 'Pathfinder.' Until now. Get ready for Leonardo DiCaprio, Viking warrior.

Mel Gibson will direct DiCaprio in an "untitled period drama about Viking culture," Variety reports. Which we're interpreting as "full-scale Viking battle epic." This is Mel Gibson we're talking about after all, the man known for taking cinema to bloody extremes with 'Braveheart,' 'The Passion of the Christ' and 'Apocalypto.' After 'Gladiator' ushered in a new sword-and-sandal era, it seemed that another favorite genre of the Technicolor era, the Viking epic, couldn't be far behind. Sadly, all we got in the way of Viking flicks were the disappointing 'The 13th Warrior' and 'Pathfinder.' Until now. Get ready for Leonardo DiCaprio, Viking warrior.

Mel Gibson will direct DiCaprio in an "untitled period drama about Viking culture," Variety reports. Which we're interpreting as "full-scale Viking battle epic." This is Mel Gibson we're talking about after all, the man known for taking cinema to bloody extremes with 'Braveheart,' 'The Passion of the Christ' and 'Apocalypto.'

William Monahan, who netted an Oscar for scripting another DiCaprio film, 'The Departed,' has been tapped to write the screenplay. Shooting is expected to begin in fall 2010. "This will be an awe-inspiring story, created with some of the industry's finest cinematic talent, and I am just over the moon to be making this film with Mel, Leo and Bill," producer Graham King said in a statement to Variety.

While DiCaprio is the only cast member announced so far, we've got some casting suggestions: 'True Blood';s Alexander Skarsgard, the vampire with a Viking past, would be a natural choice, as would his father, Stellan Skarsgard. And any casting director would be remiss not to consider 'Lord of the Rings' star Viggo Mortensen or 'LOTR' brothers-in-arms Sean Bean and Karl Urban, who starred as a Nordic lad orphaned on American shores in 'Pathfinder.'

Craving more Norse warrior action? 'Thor,' the live-action film based on the Marvel Comic is slated for 2011, with Chris Hemsworth (of 'Star Trek' and 'Home Away') set to star as the hammer-wielding blond god. Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Kenneth Branagh, and Natalie Portman are also attached.

Reaching back into the (admittedly cheesy) archives, there's Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis battling it out in 'The Vikings,' and the so-bad-it's-good 'The Long Ships,' with Richard Widmark squaring off against Sidney Poitier.


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