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Leonardo DiCaprio will play the 'Italian Sherlock' in NYC thriller 'The Black Hand'

Tom Huddleston

They called him 'the Italian Sherlock Holmes': Joseph Petrosino was a turn-of-the-century Italian-American lawman whose pioneering crimefighting techniques are still in use today. And now he's coming to the screen courtesy of Leonardo DiCaprio, who'll produce and star in a movie based on Petrosino's most infamous case, as he took on the infamous Black Hand gang, a precursor of the New York mob. 

To be fair, the whole Sherlock thing sounds a bit tenuous: Petrosino used his knowledge of the Italian-American community where he grew up to break the Black Hand's stranglehold on crime, so unless there's a Conan Doyle story where Sherlock infiltrates a gang of posh, opium-addicted violin players their approaches do seem rather radically different. But at least the casting's perfect - Petrosino really does look like 1903's answer to DiCaprio.

Joking aside, this does sound like gripping material for a movie - like 'Gangs of New York' meets 'The Untouchables'. There's no word yet on a director or release date - but Time Out Film will keep you updated when there is.

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