Posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2012 by Russ Fischer
We can stop wondering what Martin Scorsese will do to follow Hugo, and it won’t be his long-hoped for project Silence. Last month we heard that Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio would reunite to make their fifth film together: an adaptation of the Jordan Belfort memoir The Wolf of Wall Street. Now the ink is on their contracts. (At one point it looked like Ridley Scott might make the film with DiCaprio starring, but Scott moved on to other projects.)
And so The Wolf of Wall Street, working from a script by Terence Winter (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire), will shoot in New York in August. More details follow.
First up, here’s the synopsis of the memoir, which follows Belfort’s hard-partying years as a broker in the mid-’80s. That life changed when he went to jail for securities fraud:
Belfort, who founded one of the first and largest chop shop brokerage firms in 1987, was banned from the securities business for life by 1994, and later went to jail for fraud and money-laundering, delivers a memoir that reads like fiction. It covers his decade of success with straightforward accounts of how he worked with managers of obscure companies to acquire large amounts of stock with minimal public disclosure, then pumped up the price and sold it, so he and the insiders made large profits while public investors usually lost. Profits were laundered through purchase of legitimate businesses and cash deposits in Swiss banks. There is only brief mention of Belfort’s life before Wall Street or events since 1997. The book’s main topic is the vast amount of sex, drugs and risky physical behavior Belfort managed to survive. As might be expected in the autobiography of a veteran con man with movie rights already sold, it’s hard to know how much to believe.
And here’s the press release for the project, announcing the signed deals.
Los Angeles, CA – April 19, 2012 – Martin Scorsese will direct “The Wolf of Wall Street” starring Leonardo DiCraprio. The deal, which brings Scorsese and DiCaprio together for their fifth feature collaboration, was made official today.
Red Granite Pictures owns the rights to Jordan Belfort’s best-selling memoir The Wolf of Wall Street, on which the film is based. Red Granite principals Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland are producing along with Leonardo DiCaprio (Appian Way), Martin Scorsese and Emma Koskoff (Sikelia Productions) and Alexandra Milchan (EMJAG Productions). Irwin Winkler and Georgia Kacandes will executive produce.
Leonardo DiCaprio will star as Jordan Belfort – the ‘Wolf of Wall Street.’
Terence Winter (“The Sopranos,” “Boardwalk Empire”) adapted the screenplay, which chronicles Belfort’s dramatic rise and fall on Wall Street, along with his hard-partying lifestyle and tumultuous personal life, which included drug and alcohol addiction.
“Everything about this film plays to Martin Scorsese’s genius and visionary storytelling, said Riza Aziz. “At its heart, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ is about the rise of new ‘modern’ gangsters in New York. Wall Street gangsters that redefined excess, greed and arrogance. We’re excited to see Mr. Scorsese take the reins of this visceral, tumultuous ride.”
“All of us at Appian Way are thrilled to collaborate, once again, with Martin Scorsese,” said Jennifer Killoran, partner in Appian Way. “With Martin’s unique vision and our partnership with Red Granite Pictures and EMJAG, we are excited to bring this story to film.”
Production on “The Wolf of Wall Street” is slated to begin in August in New York.
With a celebrated career now spanning six decades, Martin Scorsese is one of the most influential filmmakers in cinema history. A cinematic master, his works include such iconic films as “Goodfellas,” “Taxi Driver,” “Mean Streets,” “Raging Bull,” “Casino,” “Gangs of New York,” “The Aviator,” “Shutter Island,” and “The Departed.”
The acclaimed director, producer and screenwriter is one of the most decorated filmmakers of all time and continues to delight critics and audiences alike with his most recent work, “Hugo,” a multiple Academy Award® winning film that not only marked the director’s first foray into 3D but is also his first adventure film for all the family. Scorsese has also made a number of ground-breaking documentaries including celebrated music films “No Direction Home: Bob Dylan,” “Shine a Light” and “George Harrison: Living in the Material World.”
He was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Director seven times before earning one in 2007 for The Departed. Scorsese’s additional awards and honors include the Golden Lion from the Venice Film Festival (1995), the AFI Life Achievement Award (1997), the Honoree at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 25th Gala Tribute (1998), the DGA Lifetime Achievement Award (2003), The Kennedy Center Honors (2007) and the HFPA Cecil B. DeMille Award (2010).
Scorsese is the founder and chair of The Film Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of motion picture history. In 2007 Scorsese launched the World Cinema Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of neglected films from around the world, with special attention paid to those developing countries lacking the financial and technical resources to do the work themselves. Scorsese is the founder and chair.
Martin Scorsese is represented by WME and manager Rick Yorn. Yorn also represents Leonardo DiCaprio. David Boyle of Red Granite Pictures negotiated both Scorsese and DiCaprio’s deal on behalf of the company while Channing Johnson of Loeb & Loeb oversaw the book and script rights acquisition for Red Granite.