Leonardo DiCaprio can’t dodge giving testimony in a lawsuit brought by former Stratton Oakmont executive Andrew Greene over his alleged depiction in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street.
At a hearing on Thursday, United States magistrate judge Steven Locke in New York granted Greene’s motion to compel a deposition.
Greene is suing producers including Paramount Pictures, Red Granite Pictures, DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions and Sikelia Productions over the character of Nicky “Rugrat” Koskoff, played by P.J. Byrne, who wore a toupee and was the subject of the movie line, “Swear to God, I want to choke him to death.”
The plaintiff claims that the film changed his nickname from “Wigwam” to “Rugrat,” but spread untruths about him and damaged his reputation to the tune of $15 million. A judge rejected claims, but allowed Greene to amend and assert that the filmmakers maliciously libeled him.
In attempting to shield DiCaprio from being deposed, defendants argued that Scorsese and screenwriter Terence Winter had already given testimony, and that plaintiffs failed to give any reason why they needed to question DiCaprio as well since he didn’t write the screenplay nor acted the “Rugrat” part. Judge Locke was told that efforts to question him had “earmarks of the intentional infliction of burden” and Greene’s lawyers wanted “to coerce an outcome that is not based upon the merits of the case.”
Nevertheless, the judge is allowing Greene to make DiCaprio the third one on the defendants’ side allowed to be deposed, and as mentioned in our earlier story, his testimony — which may cover Appian Way’s early involvement on the film — will happen as federal authorities are investigating the source of money that Red Granite used to fund The Wolf of Wall Street. If questions towards DiCaprio aren’t deemed relevant by his lawyers, the magistrate judge may be called in again to determine the scope of the interrogation.