Scorsese and DiCaprio Talk at Ziegfeld Theatre Retrospective

“Marty told the actors ['Wolf of Wall Street'] takes place in a modern day Roman Empire.”

Leonardo DiCaprio spoke these words Thursday night during a panel to celebrate the collaboration between the actor and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese. The two-day celebration at New York’s famous Ziegfeld Theatre showed a five film retrospective on the films Leo and Marty made together. Joining DiCaprio for the panel were editor Thelma Schoonmaker and writer Terence Winter.

The panel’s focus was mostly about Scorsese, a man well respected by his peers and his production. Winter states, “He [Scorsese] thinks plot is irrelevant. It all starts with the characters. Tie enough character behavior together, you find the plot.”

DiCaprio continued, “It was important to Marty to not glorify the world. The story needs to be shown in an authentic way. He doesn’t judge the characters. From there, a conversation is formed.”

Leading up to the 2014 Oscars, that conversation tips the scale toward the negative. The main reason for this is that there are some large moral and ethical conversations taking place about the glorification of the lead character Jordan Belfort’s lifestyle within the film. DiCaprio goes on to say that this is exactly what Scorsese envisioned when setting out to make the Oscar Nominated film.

DiCaprio stated, “I wanted to make a film where the director’s vision is paramount.”

Even from a quick 23-minute talk, you can tell the respect and more importantly, trust that DiCaprio has for Scorsese. “Wolf of Wall Street is a unique film in that the director put his total vision without any influence from the studio on the screen. This version is the Directors Cut.”

One of the many memorable scenes in “Wolf” included Matthew McConaughey and DiCaprio stepping out of the office to have a nice and friendly business lunch. By the end, McConaughey beats on his chest in rhythm.

“That was all Mathew and ad lib,” DiCaprio remembers.

“Special Gold!” chimed in Winter. “That was all Matthew coming on set, Leo picking up and running with it.”

“Improv through beautiful writing!” Schoonmaker laughed.

The Wolf of Wall Street is nominated in five categories: Best Picture, Director, Lead Actor, Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay, at the 86th Academy Awards, airing on ABC, March 2nd at 8pm Eastern.

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