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Leonardo DiCaprio Talks His Work With Martin Scorsese, Says He Wants More Movies Like 'Wolf Of Wall Street' & More

by Alex Suskind
February 14, 2014 11:02 AM
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“We got hipsters in the house!” This phrase makes even less sense now than when I heard Leonardo DiCaprio say it last night at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City, where hundreds braved the horrendous weather to hear him talk about his decade-long partnership with director Martin Scorsese. The panel, which included longtime Scorsese editor Thelma Schoonmaker along with screenwriter Terence Winter, was part of a two-day series highlighting all five films Scorsese and DiCaprio have collaborated on. As for the hipster comment, Leo had just asked those in the audience whether they had already seen "The Wolf of Wall Street," one of the most divisive films of 2013. When more than half the crowd raised their hands, he seemed genuinely happy, like the work he had put in over the last several years paid off. Thus, his decision to call those with their hands up "hipsters.” Nevertheless, DiCaprio’s definition of the word shouldn’t matter as much as the sentiment behind it—a feeling of excitement and satisfaction.

The overall response 'Wolf' has gotten since it hit theaters last December has been, to say the least, complicated. Some love it for its brutal and honest portrayal of a greedy Wall Street broker who stole millions of dollars from innocent people. Others think it’s a disgusting and blasphemous film that’s unwilling and uninterested in punishing its immoral lead character. The hostility from the latter camp has sent the usually private DiCaprio on a months-long press tour to support the movie and Scorsese’s vision (not to mention an Oscar campaign, with the film receiving five nominations).

"I have been doing a lot of press for the film and speaking openly about it because I want more films like this to be able to get made."

“I have been doing a lot of press for the film and speaking openly about it because I want more films like this to be able to get made,” DiCaprio said. “You may misinterpret it. But this is what we wanted to put up on the screen, and that’s not something you’re going to see very often nowadays, which is what I am absolutely most proud of of making this movie.”

In fact, DiCaprio has a lot to be proud of—and not just for the acclaim his latest work has already received. "The Wolf of Wall Street" marks the fifth collaboration between him and Scorsese, a partnership that began in 2002 on the period piece "Gangs of New York." Since then, it has blossomed into one of Hollywood’s greatest actor-director relationships. Most surprising is DiCaprio’s reaction to it all: he can’t quite believe he’s gotten to work as much as he has with one of his cinematic heroes.

“It’s interesting, because I have been doing this since I was 13,” said DiCaprio, about his acting career. “I am almost about to turn 40, and I am looking back at some of the stuff I’ve gotten to do, and at the center of it is this amazing accidental collaboration that I’ve gotten to have with Marty.”

This self-described accidental collaboration has produced five distinct films so far, each with its own singular lead performance from DiCaprio: In "Gangs of New York," he played an immigrant in a city on the cusp of self-destruction; in "The Aviator," he was the influential and inimitable Howard Hughes; in "Shutter Island," he was a detective looking to solve a mysterious disappearance at a psychiatric facility; in "The Departed," he portrayed an undercover cop attempting to take down an infamous mob boss; and now, in "Wolf of Wall Street," he plays a scumbag trying to scam money off of unsuspecting civilians. This is an impressive body of work. The fact that it was done with Martin Scorsese, one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, makes it that much more remarkable.

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  • Aga | February 16, 2014 11:09 AMReply

    Leo is Brilliant in many movies especially the last 5! I loved this movie. it was done with so much passion. I'm not sure who else could have done this role better? I never watch movies twice but this one I've enjoyed too much not to.

  • Cardof | February 15, 2014 6:05 PMReply

    Sexist trash. Regardless of Martys intetions undeinalably teenage boys will worship Belfort, creating another cycle of sexism.

  • M | February 14, 2014 5:41 PMReply

    "I have been doing a lot of press for the film and speaking openly about it because I want more films like this to be able to get made."
    BULLSHIT, it is the Oscar that you want, obviously. It's okay to campaign hard for it just don't justify it with some bullshit.

  • leothelion | February 15, 2014 10:12 AM

    Agreed. The reason Dicaprio would've developed this project and worked so hard to see it get made is because he sees an opportunity for him to shine in a role. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he's a passionate environmentalist, but I won't concede to him that it's important that Jordan Belfort's story be told. He champions this movie as if it was a PBS documentary film meant to inform and educate the public. Belfort was a scumbag, and he was just the type of colorful character that provides Dicaprio the opportunity to shine in a charismatic role even if he and the cast had to degrade themselves to the level of subhuman slime to make this film. I would rather hear Dicaprio talk about the challenges of playing the role rather than listen to him insist that it was important that this film and others like it be made. No public service is being performed in making a film like this, so I wish he'd drop the pretense.

  • Jennifer | February 14, 2014 12:08 PMReply


  • jane | February 16, 2014 4:59 AM

    What a load of tosh !!! It's no good pretending this sort of thing did not happen, it is what it is !!! DiCaprio is a naturally talented actor, he doesn't need to make himself look good, because he is. I've not heard one person say it wasn't entertaining, and thats what the cinema is ! Don't go if your going to get all morral. That's Entertainment !!

  • Kim | February 14, 2014 8:49 PM

    Don't take it personal folks but, I've seen just about all of his films including this one, and I agree with Jennifer. In MY opinion, he's good but, overrated.

  • j | February 14, 2014 4:51 PM

    Big time ..your talking bout leo right ? i think the film and leo are overrated .Good for him that he's sticking by something he believes in .At the end of the day the this particular film wasn't all that great .It wasn't even the sex and drugs it was just the quality .Or lack there of ,the movie just didn't go anywhere .Not one of scorseses shining moments that's for sure .

  • STEWART | February 14, 2014 2:06 PM

    The best actor of his generation and most people, including Dr Niro and Pacino have said as much. So does his filmography, the critics, the audiences and anyone with a brain.

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