Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio Finally Open Up About 'Wolf of Wall Street'
In a candid roundtable with Jonah Hill and writer Terence Winter, the film's major players open up about airplane orgies, scoring quaaludes, Steven Spielberg on set and why DiCaprio was drawn to the real-life story: "It was like a modern-day Caligula."
SCORSESE: We still don't know what an IPO is!
DICAPRIO: One of the early conversations we had was about why these people are so detestable. You know, they have no conscience for people outside of their finite little world. I remember talking to Marty about that, and he goes, "Look, the thing that I've learned about doing movies is, if you make these people as authentic as possible, and you don't sugarcoat that, people will forgive anything, and they will like those characters -- not what they're doing, but they will be invested in them." It's a very conscious choice that [Winter] made in the screenplay not to show the ramifications of their actions. Throughout the picture, you go on this acid trip with them, without any regard for the people around them.
WINTER: Jordan is so inherently charming, and you're laughing at these guys and laughing with them -- and then you're realizing, "Oh, this guy committed suicide. Wait a minute." It's so despicable, and you go, "Wait, I'm falling for him." This is exactly how they managed to do what they did.
SCORSESE: It's also something that I think is part of human nature. I think all of us, under certain circumstances, could be capable of some very despicable acts. And that's why, over the years, in my movies I've had characters who didn't care what people thought about them. We try to be as true to them as possible and maybe see part of ourselves in there that we may not like.
The film's release was delayed. What happened?
SCORSESE: It took longer to cut the shape of the picture, that's all. Very simple.
The final cut is 2:59. How long was your initial version?
SCORSESE: It was over four hours.
Would you want to release it at that length?
SCORSESE: No, not really. That talk about these "director cuts" -- it doesn't really [apply]. In the old days, if the [studio] took the film away from you and they made a cut and there was a director's cut here and somebody found it -- that's a director's cut. But a longer cut is a longer cut. There's a couple of lines of dialogue I would've liked to put back in. [But it's been] quite an experience putting this together in the editing room. For the past five weeks now, it's been day and night, seven days a week, mixing, cutting, re-cutting.
DICAPRIO: At the end of the day, no one's going to prohibit Martin Scorsese from making the film he wants to make. The only conversations were about whether the film should be released at a certain date or not. Nothing else.
This film is set on Wall Street in the past. What does it say about the world today?
WINTER: How history repeats itself and how we're not learning from our mistakes. I mean, it's just holding a mirror up to what is still going on.
SCORSESE: It goes back to what the concept of America is. Yes, you can have extraordinary opportunities. But is it a place [where] the main opportunities are to get rich or about human rights? Is it about a sense of freedom, a pursuit of happiness, or is it just about getting rich?
DICAPRIO: It's fundamentally a part of evolution and existence. It comes back to, are we, as this intelligent life form, able to supersede that, to ultimately live harmoniously with others in the world? It's inherent in every problem out there. Greed is the basis of all of it.