Anna Lisa Raya is deputy editor of AwardsLine.
The Wolf Of Wall Street — Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Jordan Belfort’s memoir, starring Leonardo DiCaprio — is a wild and crazy ride that had its own wayward journey to the big screen. Helping keep things on track was producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff, who rose from executive assistant to president of production for Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions. She credits her ascent to her ability to communicate with the perfectionist director in a kind of shorthand. “Do I feel like I could handle anybody after having worked with him for so long? Sure,” she says. “He is the maestro.”
AwardsLine: How did The Wolf Of Wall Street finally get off the ground?
Emma Tillinger Koskoff: Alexandra Milchan got the book rights and then she engaged Terence Winter to write the screenplay. They brought it to Leo (DiCaprio) at a time when he had a deal with Warner Bros., in 2007. Then Leo brought it to Marty (Scorsese), and they began developing it. For whatever reason, the film went into turnaround at Warners. The film came back, fortuitously, right when Marty finished Hugo and he was looking for his next movie. Eventually, it all came together through Red Granite Pictures. They came in with Joey McFarland and scooped it up from Warner Bros., fully financed it and took it first to Paramount, which wanted to distribute it.
AwardsLine: What attracted you to the story?
Koskoff: It’s a classic roller coaster ride. It’s hilariously funny. Jonah (Hill) and Leo are hilariously funny together. The film is sexy, it’s scary, it’s infuriating, it’s wildly disturbing and it’s exciting all at the same time. The breadth of emotion that you go through watching this film is incredible. (more…)