It’s been quite a road for the long-gestating “The Wolf of Wall Street” project, and adaptation of Jordan Belfort‘s tell-all autobiography of 1990s stockbroker decadence.
Way back in 2007, the project was first announced with Martin Scorsese at the helm, “The Sopranos” scribe Terence Winter on board to write and Marty’s perennial muse Leonardo DiCaprio in the starring slot. Studio tug-of-war for the project between Warner Bros. and Paramount eventually stalled the project, but it came back to life in the fall of 2009 when it was revealed Ridley Scott was circling the director’s chair. Then last year, it was reported that the project was back in the hands of Scorsese who was eyeing it for this next movie after “Hugo Cabret.” At the time the news felt a bit premature, and as we later found out, Scorsese intends to make his dream project “Silence” next. But what we didn’t know is that Warner Bros. appears to have let “The Wolf of Wall Street” go completely and Scorsese has moved on as well.
Variety reports that Red Granite Pictures, the new indie house that currently has “Friends With Kids” starring Jon Hamm, Megan Fox, Adam Scott and Kristen Wiig under their roof, has picked up the rights to the project, which DiCaprio will produce under his Appian Way shingle. The Terence Winter script will stay, telling the story of a drug/sex/alcohol addicted New York stockbroker who refuses to cooperate in a large securities fraud case involving corruption on Wall Street, corporate banking world and mob infiltration.
There’s no word yet on when this is set to begin but it’s likely a while off yet as DiCaprio will start lensing on “The Great Gatsby” later this summer and we’d reckon that production will likely last much of the rest of the year. So the door is potentially open for Scorsese to return, but like we said, he intends to make “Silence” next and DiCaprio has no shortage of top shelf helmers in his Rolodex he can ring up on the phone. The project will be shopped at the Cannes Film Festival over the next week and a half.
So why would Warner Bros. leave a Leonardo DiCaprio project behind? He is one of the world’s leading A-list stars. Well, maybe director Doug Liman was right. At a recent Tribeca Film Fest conversation with actor Alec Baldwin, he dropped the following very telling anecdote: “I heard a story that Leonardo DiCaprio was pitching a film at Warner Bros.—and, y’know, he’s a big deal at Warner Bros.—and they cut him off halfway through the pitch and said, ‘Is this a drama? Because we don’t make dramas anymore. You might as well just save your breath.’” Damn, maybe the expensive WB flick “Sucker Punch” that bombed was the final straw?