By, Mike Fleming
March 15, 2012
EXCLUSIVE: Director Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio are committing to make The Wolf of Wall Street their fifth collaboration. The film is based on the Jordan Belfort memoir of his days as a hard partying, drug addicted stockbroker who was indicted in 1998 for security fraud and money laundering and served a 22-month federal prison stretch. Shooting will begin August in New York.
The film will be fully financed by Red Granite Pictures, which acquired The Wolf Of Wall Street at the last Cannes Film Festival after Danny Dimbort,
Christian Mercuri and Joe Gatta formed the international sales company. Red Granite got involved early with the just released comedy Friends With Kids, but this really is an opportunity to be put on the map, much the way GK Films did with Gangs of New York and The Aviator. The film will be produced by Scorsese and his production head Emma Tillinger Koskoff as well as Irwin Winkler, DiCaprio and his Appian Way partner Jennifer Killoran, and Alexandra Milchan, who long developed the project before becoming an executive at New Regency. Red Granite chairman/CEO Riza Aziz and vice chairman Joey McFarland will be involved in producing capacities as well. There is no timetable to set a domestic distributor, but Red Granite will certainly sell territories at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival.
Both Scorsese and DiCaprio were in the mix for several big feature projects, but they always wanted to make this film together and finally felt the time was right. The script is by Terence Winter, the exec producer of The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire, and he will polish his script before going into production. Belfort came of age on Wall Street in the ’80s and early ’90s, and his success was undermined by the decadence fueled by the endless money he made in New York at that time. Though a period piece, this tale is all about extravant excess and that certainly resonates with those who mistrust of Wall Street excess after the 2008 financial collapse that was also based on greed.
For Scorsese, this will be his fifth time directing DiCaprio, after Gangs of New York, The Aviator, the Oscar-winning The Departed and Shutter Island. DiCaprio has a ways to go to catch up with the eight seminal films that Scorsese directed with Robert De Niro, but Scorsese and DiCaprio certainly bring out the best in each other. Scorsese is coming off his Oscar-nominated 3D film Hugo, and DiCaprio most recently wrapped the title role in the Baz Luhrmann-directed The Great Gatsby.