‘The Wolf of Wall Street” spent years in development before the combined muscle of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio finally got it off the ground. Yet for scripter Terence Winter, the biggest obstacle was simply condensing antihero Jordan Belfort’s sprawling, colorfully anecdotal memoir into a single film, even a three-hour one.
“Whenever I start to adapt a book, I go through and circle the parts that are movie moments, ‘that has to be in the movie, this has to be in the movie …,’ ” Winter says. “With this one, I basically circled the entire book. Had we told the story in its entirety, the movie would be 18 hours long.”
While Winter says there were no major omissions from his screenplay, he was worried that the capsizing yacht scene would be cut for budgetary reasons, “which would have been awful, because it was a perfect metaphor for what these men had done to themselves, and what they’d done to the economy.”