EXCLUSIVE: The Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort’s memoir of 1990’s stockbroker decadence, is back on the prowl. I’m hearing that the film is being put back together, with Ridley Scott in early discussions to direct Leonardo DiCaprio, who once expected to make the film with Martin Scorsese. In the scenario under discussion, Scorsese would join DiCaprio and his Appian Way shingle as producer, and it is likely that Scott Free would board the project in a producing capacity as well. Scorsese and DiCaprio nearly did the project together two years ago, but it got stalled in a tug of war between Warner Bros–where the project was developed–and Paramount, the latter of which gave Scorsese a rich overall deal. Instead, Scorsese and DiCaprio teamed on an adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel Shutter Island. The Wolf of Wall Street is still in the process of being figured out for budget and distribution, but Scott loves the script by Terry Winter (the writer/producer of The Sopranos and the upcoming HBO series Boardwalk Empire). It is funny, dramatic and fast paced, and manages to make something of a sympathetic character out of a stockbroker who supervises a cadre of brokers who squeezed clients to buy stocks that paid off–for the brokers, who used the funds to live extravagantly until they were brought down by the feds.
I’m told that Scorsese–who’s directing for GK Films the 3D adaptation of The Invention of Hugo Cabret– is willing to pass the baton to Scott, who directed DiCaprio in Body of Lies. Scheduling is an issue for all involved. It is unclear whether Scott can squeeze in the film before the 3D Alien prequel, a priority project for the director’s home studio, Fox. DiCaprio, who opens next week in the Chris Nolan-directed Inception, is next expected to play FBI director J. Edgar Hoover in the Clint Eastwood-directed biopic Hoover for Imagine Entertainment and Warner Bros.