‘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’

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT -

a pair­ing that has grown to ri­val De Niro’s own with Scors­ese (eight films). DiCaprio was in his mid-20s when he sought out a part in Scors­ese’s bloody New York tale, Gangs of New York. The Howard Hughes biopic, The Avi­a­tor, fol­lowed, a movie that DiCaprio (who landed his first lead ac­tor Os­car nom­i­na­tion) sug­gested to Scors­ese. Then came the Bos­ton crime flick The De­parted (earn­ing Scors­ese his first di­rect­ing Academy Award) and the ’50s noir flick, Shut­ter Is­land.

“It hasn’t been cal­cu­lated at all,” says DiCaprio. “I brought projects to him. Projects have come to us. And we just kind of both said, ‘Yes, that’s the type of movie we want to do.’ It’s been this re­ally nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion. We’ve taken more and more chances. And, cer­tainly I’ve grown more as an ac­tor hav­ing a trusted ally.” The Wolf of Wall Street, writ­ten by Ter­ence Win­ter ( Board­walk Em­pire), is adapted from Jor­dan Belfort’s mem­oir about his heady rise from a Long Is­land penny stock trader to a wealthy stock swindler pre­sid­ing over the bro­ker­age firm Strat­ton Oak­mont. Schooled by an early boss (Matthew McConaughey) on the “fairy dust” that is high fi­nance, Belfort reck­lessly plun­ders his clients’ pock­ets to make him­self rich and to fi­nance a pa­rade of pros­ti­tutes, co­caine and Quaaludes. DiCaprio calls the movie “a bi­og­ra­phy of a scum­bag.” “It has to be seen. It has to be ex­pe­ri­enced,” says Scors­ese. “If it raises the ire of some peo­ple, that might be a good thing be­cause it makes you think about it.” Though DiCaprio has spent much of his post- Ti­tanic ca­reer tak­ing on iconic, some­what stiff roles like J. Edgar Hoover, Jay Gatsby and Howard Hughes, his per­for­mance as Belfort is wildly un­in­hib­ited — more like he was in Woody Allen’s Celebrity. In scenes in front of hun­dreds of cheer­ing ex­tras play­ing sy­co­phant em­ploy­ees, DiCaprio iden­ti­fied with Belfort’s swelling ego. He felt, he says, “like a rock star.” “Jor­dan’s char­ac­ter had been brew­ing in me for a while. I had been think­ing about this for six years, so I knew some­thing was go­ing to come out. Some beast was go­ing to come out. I just didn’t know what it was go­ing to be,” says DiCaprio. “He was en­joy­ing him­self with the char­ac­ter,” adds Scors­ese. “I didn’t want to stand back and say, ‘This is bad be­hav­iour.’ It’s not for us to say, it’s for us to present. And ob­vi­ously it’s bad be­hav­iour.” The arc of the movie will re­call for many Scors­ese’s Goodfel­las. It could be that Scors­ese iden­ti­fies with the vo­ra­cious ap­petites of Belfort and Henry Hill be­cause he shares it — only his taste is for movies. He para­phrases Frank Capra: “Film is a dis­ease and the only an­ti­dote is more film.” Though Scors­ese re­mains an un­usu­ally pro­lific film­maker, he sig­nals an ac­cep­tance that his time is wan­ing: “Who knows? You may have a cou­ple of min­utes left. You may have 20 years left. “I want to do so much, and when you get to this van­tage point, there’s not much time left.” Scors­ese com­pares new films to a diet of Big Macs be­ing served to young peo­ple like his teenage daugh­ter. “It’s not cin­ema any­more, it’s a blockbuster,” he says. “What’s their idea of what cin­ema is? A film that opens on a week­end and the money it makes on a Fri­day night. The only way that can re­ally be changed is if the au­di­ence changes, but how can you change the au­di­ence now be­cause they’ve been raised on it? A young per­son won’t take it as se­ri­ously, maybe.” For now, he and DiCaprio hope to work to­gether again, con­tin­u­ing to evade in­dus­try pres­sures as a duo. Says the Los An­ge­les na­tive DiCaprio: “I’ve been given an op­por­tu­nity to fi­nance movies based on my name and what am I go­ing to do with that? It’s an op­por­tu­nity that I’d feel like an id­iot to squan­der.” Un­like the busi­ness of Wall Street, the re­sults aren’t fairy dust. “Good, bad or in­dif­fer­ent, we’re try­ing to make some­thing so we can sit here and talk about it,” says Scors­ese. “If you’re tak­ing money from here and here and noth­ing comes out, what is it for? What are you cre­at­ing?”

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