Saturday, March 1, 2014

"I Know People That Disgusting." Jonah Hill, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Terence Winter Discuss
"The Wolf of Wall St."

Martin Sorcese’s rambling, immensely entertaining black comedy “The Wolf of Wall St.” is one of this year’s Best Film nominees. A few weeks ago, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, and screenwriter Terence Winter answered questions after a screening in Hollywood.

Terrence Winter on how he got involved with the film:

The book is so visual and so wild. I literally started to read it, I could not put it down… It plays out in your mind when you read it. Each one of those sequences, I saw the movie in my head… It’s such an incredibly compelling roller coaster [ride]… I had never written anything like it before.

Terrence Winter on the film’s three-hour length:

[The first draft was] 128 pages. We decided we needed to cut it, and it ballooned up to 146. That’s what meeting with Marty will do.

Jonah Hill on the real Jordan Belfort:

What was really compelling was how honest Jordan was about this behavior. And all true by the way. The FBI agent who tracked Jordan told me every single thing was true.

Jonah Hill on how he got the part:

I was nominated for an Oscar for Money Ball, and I sat in front of Scorcese at the Oscars. I had never met him, and Goodfellows is the reason I wanted to dedicate my life to films… I’m not going up to him and bother him, but by the end of the night, I said, “Hey, I really like Goodfellows.”… A week later I got a call that they were interested in me. I was at the bottom of the list of way better actors. Then Leo and I were in Mexico promoting different films. I asked him if I could meet with him, because he was the producer. This was a month before I was supposed to meet with Scorcese. We sat down and I immediately launched into who I thought Donnie was and told him, “I have to play this character. There’s no one else in the world who can play this character but me. I know people this disgusting.”

Jonah Hill talks about his most difficult day on the set:

We start the day and everyone is happy. And then we move on to the phone booth scene after lunch. It’s me and Leo in this cramped little phone booth, and we keep doing takes, and Marty’s not happy… So I spiral into a hole of anxiety because I feel I’m letting him down to the point where his assistant comes up to me and asks, “Is everything okay?” And then that spun me out so much worse, because it meant it was noticeable that I was not doing well. (They took a 20-minute break, then returned and finished the scene in two takes.)

Leonardo DiCaprio talks about Jordan Belfort’s involvement in the film:

I met Jordan right away and had lunch with him just to get a feel of who he was… I had him come in and recreate those big speeches at a conference room at CAA… I got a lot of insight into who he was… You could see how charming and persuasive this guy could be. It was incredibly helpful… Marty didn’t want to associate with him at all. It was a conscious choice on his part… He needed his own distance as a filmmaker.

Leonardo DiCaprio describes Jordan Belfort’s opinion of the movie: He wrote me a letter and said, “I’m ashamed to admit that my favorite movie of all time happens to be about me.”

Jonah Hill on the goldfish scene:

One of the gentlemen in the book ate the young kid’s goldfish and he threw a cigarette at him. I hated doing that scene. Marty said, “What do you want to about the goldfish?” I said, “I’ll eat it for real.” Except for the drugs, we tried to do everything for real… A couple of days before the producer says, “PETA is not going to let you eat the goldfish.” The day of [the scene] they show up with three adult goldfish wranglers, adult minders of a goldfish. It was taken care of better than any of us were on set.

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