Leonardo DiCaprio hobbled into the press conference for “The Wolf of Wall Street” with a cane. Martin Scorsese, Rob Reiner, Kyle Chandler, screenwriter Terence Winter, and Red Granite Pictures producers Emma Tillinger, Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland also participated in the junket at a swanky hotel in Manhattan Sunday afternoon.
Did DiCaprio injure himself giving his all for his art he was asked?
There is loads of physically challenging stuff in the film about real-life Wall Street sociopath, Jordan Belfort, played by DiCaprio.
In one scene a hooker uses his derriere as a candleholder. In another sequence, he massively overdoses on Quaaludes and loses his motor control, crawls and falls down steps.
“The cane is because I sprained my ankle on the floorboard,” DiCaprio said. “Nothing as exciting as maybe you thought it would be.”
Then someone asked Scorsese about rumors that he was going to retire?
“You’ll have to tackle me to stop me,” the 71 year-old director cracked.
DiCaprio said the over-the-top scenes in the film depict a “modern-day Caligula,” and are lifted from Belfort’s biography, which DiCaprio picked up six years ago. “I was compelled to play his character” in a movie version, and “obsessed with having Marty direct.” Financing fell apart and then Scorsese did “Hugo.”
Rob Reiner, who’s known as a director nowadays more than as an actor, said he didn’t know why he was approached to play Jordan Belfort’s excitable dad.
“When Martin Scorsese calls to ask you to be in a movie, you just do it. You don’t ask questions.”
But then, “First of all, I thought, ‘Well he wants me to play Leonardo DiCaprio’s father, so I thought, ‘Well maybe I’m more handsome than I thought.”
“Plus I got to say the F-word in a Martin Scorsese film. That’s always a good thing.”
A journalist said a friend of his counted “500 f’s” in the “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Scorsese asked, “Did that beat ‘The Departed’ or no?”
The journalist said he thought it might have.
That’s a good bet because “The Wolf of Wall Street” clocks in at 169 minutes while “The Departed” is only 151.
Someone asked if the film was a comment on the impact of bankers on Hollywood, that they call the shots instead of studio heads.
“I don’t really know who’s calling the shots anymore, seriously,” Scorsese said. “All I know is that the cinema we know, the cinema we took seriously when I was growing up, when I was making films earlier, it’s all changed now. Everything’s about where the money is.”
“I don’t know where the money comes from either, maybe Russian oligarchs.” Reiner said, adding it was rare to get a movie made that didn’t have “man in the title or a number, you know, ‘Ironman 2,’ ‘Superman 3,’ ‘Batman 4.’”
“Or ‘the Beginning,’” Scorsese laughed.
Some critics will say Belfort comes off too much of a celebrity. Did Caprio have empathy or sympathy for him?
He said Belfort was “beneficial” to him as an actor. “He looks at this as an isolated period in his life. He’s been paying the price ever since. He’s been doing everything he can to repay his debt to everybody that he’s ripped off.”
Sometimes after he divulged some embarrassing things about himself he’d tell DiCaprio, “Well maybe we shouldn’t portray this.” DiCaprio would remind him everything was in the book and this was a chance to talk about the dangers of an unregulated Wall Street. “As soon as we had that conversation, he’s like, ‘All right, I’m an open book. I’m going to tell you not only what happened on that day, but I’m gonna tell you something ten times worse.’”
DiCaprio’s vision for the film was that it was “to be this hallucinogenic sort of ride,” and that the sequence in which Jordan and his friend, Donnie (Jonah Hill) overdose on Quaaludes was supposed to be “a day in the life of two schnooks who took way too many drugs.”
The sequence, in Loony Tunes slow motion, becomes a full-blown slapstick routine. Jordan’s phone is bugged by the F.B.I. so he goes to his country to use their phone, and then the decades-old Quaaludes kick in. No one understands anything he says. “Under those circumstances you think you’re saying what you’re supposed to be saying, but you’re not because the organs, the mouth is not working. You can’t get the signals,” Scorsese said.
His legs won’t carry him and he falls down the entrance stairs of his club and crawls towards his car. “Now he’s got to get in the car, and the car’s really over there,” Scorsese points in the opposite direction where Jordan crawls because his sense of direction is off. “He falls down, but the crawling was really interesting.”
The director forgot about the door and that the car was a Lamborghini, which opens upwards. “So what is he going to do? Try his legs?” They won’t hold him up Scorsese said. His foot? “I said it’s going to take hours with your foot but that’s how we did it, just like Jerry Lewis and Jacques Tati.”
DiCaprio did the scene in two takes.
He said a lot of the ideas came from Jordan, who told him what Quaaludes were like. “I had him show me by rolling around on the floor for me, and he was helpful with that.”
DiCaprio said he also did massive research and came across a YouTube video loop called “The Drunkest Man in the World.”
“The man is trying to get a beer but his body won’t cooperate. He’s rolling around the floor for hours, so that was a huge inspiration for me,” DiCaprio said. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_0Al6GOpVg.)
Reiner added, “I put it up with the best comedy scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie in my life, and what makes it good is that they took their time with it. They didn’t rush it, and it just gets funnier and funnier and funnier.”
“I was stunned at how physically trained you are,” Reiner told DiCaprio, “like a great physical comedian person.”
DiCaprio laughed, “Person?”