Con artist Frank Abagnale Jr. made quite a career for himself in the 1960s, passing bad checks, chasing babes and working at whatever suited his fancy – pilot, teacher, you name it – until the feds shut him down. Abagnale, who now works on the side of the angels as a security consultant, wrote his autobiography in 1980. So why did Hollywood delay so long in bringing this material to the screen? Maybe they were waiting for this kind of name cast: Leonardo DiCaprio as Abagnale and Tom Hanks as Carl Hanratty, the FBI agent who caught him. Actually, director Steven Spielberg claims he was less compelled by the action than by the psychological underpinnings of the tale, especially Abagnale's relationship with his father (Christopher Walken) and how that transferred to Hanratty. So expect Catch me If You Can to veer in unexpected directions. Just don't expect a TV-movie lite.
From The Archives Issue 363: February 18, 1982