Martin Scorsese is looking to direct Leonardo DiCaprio in the film adaptation of Jordan Belfort’s upcoming tell-all autobiography “The Wolf of Wall Street” for Warner Bros. Pictures, with “The Sopranos” scribe Terence Winter aboard to write.
Alexandra Milchan will produce with DiCaprio’s shingle Appian Way, which has a first-look deal with Warners. Scorsese’s Sikelia Prods. is attached to produce.
It’s unknown, however, where “Wolf” stands on the list of potential directing projects that have been announced for Scorsese since the Academy Awards.
Deal with Warners for “Wolf” was consummated Friday night, following a brief but aggressive bidding war between Warners and Appian on one side and Paramount and Brad Pitt’s shingle Plan B on the other.
Plan B wanted to produce for Par, where that shingle is based. Pitt wasn’t necessarily attached to star.
Milchan, daughter of producer Arnon Milchan, and lit agent Joel Gotler, who repped the film rights to Belfort’s book, ultimately decided to go with Warners because of the Scorsese-DiCaprio combo offered by Appian Way and the studio, although no official deals are in place for Scorsese to direct or DiCaprio to star.
In “Wolf of Wall Street” DiCaprio would play Belfort, a Long Island penny stockbroker who served 20 months in prison for refusing to cooperate in a massive 1990s securities fraud case that involved widespread corruption on Wall Street and in the corporate banking world, including mob infiltration.
Bantam Books publishes the autobiography in September.
Like “Catch Me if You Can,” “Wolf” would be a two-hander with a key part for a second star: Much of the film would hinge on Belfort’s relationship with the FBI agent who tried to make him an informant.
Milchan, who is producing the upcoming “Mary Queen of Scots” and “The Night Watchman,” worked with Belfort in developing the film project and brought Winter aboard “Wolf” to write.
Winter is expected to begin adapting the tome immediately.
The bidding war between Paramount and Warners was preemptive, meaning that other studios didn’t have the chance to bid.
Par does have the option to co-finance half of any project that Scorsese directs or produces elsewhere under the terms of its recently inked first-look deal with the filmmaker. A signed deal has to be in place before Par’s option kicks in.
Scorsese has strong ties at Warners, where he made “The Departed,” which earned him his first Oscar for director, along with the best pic prize. Paramount topper Brad Grey, then a producer, brought Scorsese aboard “Departed.”
At Paramount, he’s developing with an eye to direct “The Long Play,” a rock ‘n’ roll epic to be penned by “Departed” scribe William Monahan. He’s also attached to direct the bigscreen adaptation of Eric Jager’s historical tome “Last Duel: A True Story of Crime.”
Over at Warners, the studio and Graham King’s Initial Entertainment Group recently picked up the screen rights to Brian Selznick children’s novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” as a potential directing vehicle for Scorsese.
DiCaprio’s next pic will be the film adaptation of Richard Yates’ 1961 tome “Revolutionary Road,” reuniting him with Kate Winslet.
Scorsese is repped by Endeavor and the Firm. DiCaprio is repped by the Firm. Winter is repped by Creative Artists Agency.