Actor-director team having a howl together
NEW YORK — “Anything goes” was the guiding ethos for Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio in making their extravagant dark comedy of Wall Street excess, The Wolf of Wall Street. “We would look at each other and ask, ‘Are we going too far?”’ says DiCaprio. Rarely was the answer yes. The two longtime collaborators pushed the based-on-a-true-story tale to the limits of outrageousness, decency and MPAA approval. With pinstripe suits instead of togas, it’s their Satyricon, their Caligula: a nearly three-hour-long orgy of money, sex and drugs. The partnership between the 71-year-old Scorsese and DiCaprio, 39, has now stretched over five films and more than a dozen years. Together, they’ve been able to carve out a space for the kind of daring Hollywood typically shuns. “Anything goes” is far from the mantra of today’s movie business. “I don’t think people really quite understand how unique this movie is,” says DiCaprio, while Scorsese, sitting next to him, nods. “No matter what they think of the movie, you do not see films like this happening.” Scorsese and DiCaprio recently sat down for a joint interview to discuss their latest film, which opened on Christmas Day. On the surface, they exude the dynamic of master and pupil, but they’re on more equal footing, bonded by a desire to make movies like those from the 1970s that DiCaprio grew up admiring and Scorsese actually made. In the last 13 years, Scorsese has made only one fictional film ( Hugo) that didn’t star DiCaprio. “Over the years, it’s been about learning more, fine-tuning the instruments together, so to speak, and discovering more from each other in the process,” says Scorsese. They co-produced The Wolf of Wall Street, which Warner Bros. turned down in 2008 before it was reborn with Paramount Pictures.
Ironically, Scorsese was tipped off to DiCaprio’s talent from the actor he’s most associated with: Robert De Niro. After De Niro made 1993’s This Boy’s Life, he recommended an 18-year-old DiCaprio to Scorsese. That would spark
Scorsese directs DiCaprio on the set of The Wolf of Wall Street.