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Red Granite acquires ‘Wolf of Wall Street’

Leonardo DiCaprio attached to star, with his Appian Way producing

Red Granite Pictures has acquired rights to Jordan Belfort’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” and will produce with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and Alexandra Milchan’s Emjag Prods.

DiCaprio has long been attached to star as Belfort. Red Granite chairman/CEO Riza Aziz and vice chairman Joey McFarland, who will serve as producers, made the announcement Wednesday in Cannes.

Martin Scorsese has been attached as director at various points but a spokesman for Red Granite said Wednesday that no director’s attached at this point.

Terence Winter (“The Sopranos,” “Boardwalk Empire”) wrote 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 addiction.

Belfort was indicted in 1998 for securities fraud and money laundering and spent 22 months in federal prison. He’s been sober for almost 14 years and has become a motivational speaker and corporate trainer while also working with the Salvation Army and MaAfrika Tikkun.

“There is no better time to tell Jordan Belfort’s amazing story,” said Jennifer Killoran of Appian Way.

McFarland said, “‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ perfectly exemplifies the type of film Red Granite intends to produce and the caliber of partners we hope to work alongside and form strong relationships with.”

Red Granite will be handing worldwide sales — although not in Cannes — and it will be on their slate once the international sales division officially begins operations this summer. It just announced the formation of the sales division to be headed by former Nu Image executives Danny Dimbort and Christian Mercuri and appointed former Millenium Films Production Head Joe Gatta as president to oversee production operations.

The company plans to produce four to five feature films a year and is actively looking to acquire negative pick-ups and third party productions for sales and distribution. Red Granite most recently teamed with Point West Productions and Locomotive to produce the romantic comedy “Friends With Kids.”

The Wolf of Wall Street” had been set up at Warner Bros. in May 2007 with Scorsese and DiCaprio attached a few months after “The Departed” won the Oscar for picture, but the much-in-demand director subsequently fell out. Scorsese then committed again last February to direct.

Should Scorsese return again to “Wolf,” it would mark the fifth collaboration between DiCaprio and Scorsese, who also teamed on “Gangs of New York,” “Shutter Island,” “The Aviator” and “The Departed.”

DiCaprio is represented by Rick Yorn. Red Granite is represented by law firm Loeb & Loeb and management firm Nigro Karlin Segal & Feldstein LLP.

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