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Cocaine, Sex & 10 Things Learned About The Making Of 'The Wolf Of Wall Street'

The Playlist By Alex Suskind | The Playlist December 16, 2013 at 1:11PM

When you make a film about the debaucherous activities of Wall Street traders, you’re guaranteed to have some entertaining stories on how it got made––which is exactly what we heard this past weekend when the cast and crew of "The Wolf of Wall Street" spoke about the movie at a press conference in New York City.
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The Wolf Of Wall Street

5. No, that’s not real cocaine they’re using
Though this film likely breaks the record for the amount of Quaaludes used on screen, it has its fair share of cocaine sequences too. However, the actors opted out of the method route for those moments. “It’s baby vitamins,” DiCaprio said about what they were actually snorting on screen––to which Scorsese added, “Yes, it helped them.”

“It certainly burned our nose,” the actor replied. “We did a lot of it.”

"It just appears to me––and I am 71 now ––being aware of America since the early 1950s, there is a change. Everything is about where the money is." - Martin Scorsese

6. Rob Reiner decided to act in this movie, his first feature role in 10 years because... Scorsese
It’s been a decade since we saw Reiner on the big screen (his last live-action role was in "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star," so consider this one several thousands steps up from that). In the film, Reiner plays Max Belfort, father to Jordan and the CFO of Stratton Oakmont. But the character didn’t really matter so much to Reiner as having the chance to work with Scorsese did.

“When Martin Scorsese calls to ask you to be in a movie, you just do it. You don’t ask questions, you just do it. He’s one of the greatest filmmakers of all time,” said Reiner, who was a bit unsure why he got the part to begin with. “First of all, I thought, Well he wants me to play Leonardo DiCaprio’s father. Maybe I am a lot more handsome than I think I am. I took it to mean that.”

No matter what Scorsese’s intentions were, Reiner was happy with the results. “I got to say the F-word in a Martin Scorsese film, and that’s always a good thing.”

7. Jordan Belfort was a major resource for DiCaprio
When you’re portraying a real person, it’s always best to go to the source. DiCaprio had been having conversations on and off with the real Belfort since he first read his book, which ultimately helped Leo depict him as accurately as possible.

“He was incredibly beneficial for me as an actor,” DiCaprio said. “He would divulge the most embarrassing things about his life because he looked at it as a part of his past. Even times where we would start to have conversations and he would start to veer off into Well, maybe we shouldn’t portray this. I was like ‘Look, you wrote this book about this time period in your life and you did it for a reason. You made a statement here, let’s tell the truth.’ As soon as we had that conversation, he was like Alright, I am going not only tell you what happened on that day, but I am going to tell you something that is 10 times worse.”

The Wolf Of Wall Street

8. DiCaprio used a YouTube video as inspiration for his character’s Quaalude binges.
One of the funniest (and darkest) scenes in the film finds DiCaprio’s Belfort in a terrible predicament after overdosing on Quaaludes. He falls to the ground and, while drooling and incoherent, is forced to crawl back to his car. Like the rest of film’s more ridiculous encounters, what happened onscreen actually took place in real life. So to make sure it looked as real as possible, DiCaprio turned to two important sources: Belfort himself, and the internet.

“A lot of it came from me filming Jordan, talking to him about what quaaludes were like, and I had him rolling around on the floor for me,” DiCaprio said, regarding the overdosing scene. “But a lot of the research I did was really from watching this one video on loop called The Drunkest Man in the World, and it’s about a man trying to get a beer and he’s rolling around on the floor for hours. So he was inspiration for me.”

It’s worth noting, Reiner, who directed such comedy classics as This Is Spinal Tap and The Princess Bride had very, very high marks for that entire sequence. “I put it up with the best comedy scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie in my life.”

The Wolf Of Wall Street

9. The film is not a metaphor for the bankers who finance films in Hollywood
One journalist asked Scorsese if making this film was a reflection of the impact bankers have had on Hollywood––that they are the ones calling the shots now rather than studio executives.

“I don’t really know who’s calling the shots anymore. Seriously, I don’t know,” Scorsese said. “All I know is that the cinema we know of is the cinema we took seriously when I was growing up. It’s all changed now. It’s different, particularly with a marketplace like this. As Leo said, we had an opportunity to break granite, to make something that can take a risk in a sensible way. And so, it just appears to me––and I am 71 now ––being aware of America since the early 1950s, there is a change. Everything is about where the money is.”

10. Just in case you're wondering, Martin Scorsese' not retiring any time soon.
While at the Marrakech Film Festival recently, Scorsese was in a decidedly different and almost somber mood, reflecting on the difficulties of filmmaking and discussing how it was challening to hold on to one's desire to continue making movies. Desire? Yes, I have the desire to make many films, but as of now I’m 71 and there’s only a couple more left if I get to make them."

While it seemed that Scorsese was perhaps reflecting on just how much time he has left, some took that as the filmmaker suggesting he was going to retire soon. Yes? Hell, no. "You'll have to stop me yourself. You'll have to just tackle me to stop me," he said adamantly in New York.

"The Wolf Of Wall Street" opens Christmas Day.

This article is related to: The Wolf of Wall Street , Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Rob Reiner, Martin Scorsese, Terence Winter, Features, Feature


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