By Rachel F. Elson
Updated November 21, 2002 01:55 PM

Leonardo DiCaprio is a busy boy these days. With two new movies set to hit theaters, the star has now signed on to star in “The Good Shepherd,” an epic spy drama to be directed by Robert De Niro and written by “Ali” and “Forrest Gump” screenwriter Eric Roth, Variety reports.

The film, which has been almost a decade in the making, will trace 40 years of CIA history, following the career of DiCaprio’s James Wilson — a Yale graduate who becomes one of the founding officers of the CIA. The character is based in part on the story of former CIA counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton, Variety notes. Production is slated for next fall.

Meanwhile, in addition to “Shepherd,” DiCaprio, 28, is signed up to work on the Howard Hughes biopic “The Aviator,” and to star in an Alexander the Great epic by director Baz Luhrmann — with whom he made his critically acclaimed 1996 film “Romeo + Juliet.”

DiCaprio also has two movies out for the holiday season: Martin Scorsese’s long-anticipated “Gangs of New York” and Steven Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can.” The actor, who collided with mainstream superstardom after the 1997 blockbuster “Titanic,” also appears with Spielberg and costar Tom Hanks in a Barbara Walters interview on “20/20” Friday night.

In one of his less articulate moments, DiCaprio tells Walters that stardom has taught him that “I think ultimately success is good. Failure not so good …”