Paramount’s push for Oscar gold with “The Wolf of Wall Street” has led its central team—Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jonah Hill—into the press melee to talk up the film’s many aspects. It’s a two-sided coin: they have plenty to praise but also plenty to defend, as more voices from Jordan Belfort’s past crop up to criticize the film’s immersive depiction of the New York stockbroker.
Condemnation is nothing new to Scorsese however, having battled controversy numerous times over the course of his career with works like “The Last Temptation of Christ,” “Taxi Driver” and “Goodfellas.” But in a new interview with Salon, the director revealed he’s never attached himself to any of his projects, past, present or future, just to see what the audience’s reaction might be.
“In none of those cases was I making a movie just because I wanted to provoke a controversy—I was drawn to make the picture and then prepared myself for a possible controversy because of the subject matter. In this case [‘Wolf of Wall Street’], I was trying to deal as honestly as I could with people in the financial industry,” the director explained. “We could have included a scene in which Jordan Belfort suddenly realizes what he’s done and begs for forgiveness, but that would have been false: No one in the industry, from Jordan Belfort to anyone who was involved in the most recent financial meltdown, seems to be terribly sorry about what they did.”
Scorsese also offered, “You can’t make pictures in order to be liked by everybody—or rather, you can, but it doesn’t interest me.” And that’s certainly true in the case of investment banker Andrew Greene (via EW), who’s now suing DiCaprio’s Appian Way production company and Paramount Pictures for $25 million over his on-screen portrayal as Nicky “Rugrat” Koskoff in the film.
Played in ‘Wolf’ by actor P.J. Byrne, who sports a pitiful toupee referenced repeatedly throughout, Greene is suing the filmmakers for defamation; he says he never gave his consent for involvement, and that the film paints him as a “as a criminal and drug user with misogynistic tendencies”—a description that has hindered his professional life.
The filmmakers have yet to offer comment, but Greene’s case is just another sign that for reasons positive and negative, Scorsese’s latest release won’t be going away anytime soon. And for a bit of the former quality, we’ve got a spotlight featurette on DiCaprio’s performance as Belfort, and also a 30-minute interview with Jonah Hill. Watch both clips below.