Oscar Mischief? Video Circulates With Leonardo DiCaprio Touting 'Wolf' Jordan Belfort's Motivational Speaking Prowess

Wolf of Wall Street - Leonardo DiCaprioIt’s that time of year — when awards-season schadenfreude begins to swirl, and rivals begin whispering in our ears about the flaws in everybody else’s offerings. Against that backdrop, a video for a lecture bureau by Leonardo DiCaprio posted last summer has conveniently begun re-circulating on the web just days after the Oscar polls opened (watch it below). It’s a short testimonial extolling the motivational speaking skills of The Wolf Of Wall Street subject Jordan Belfort, whom DiCaprio plays in the movie in all the unapologetic decadence that caused his downfall. DiCaprio qualifies his praise for his screen alter ego by mentioning Belfort’s lawbreaking past, but backing even a reformed bad guy could be a slippery slope during Oscar season; there has been heavy scrutiny over whether Belfort has profited from his book and movie (he claims the money has gone to repay victims), and just days ago the daughter of one of Belfort’s stock-hawking cronies spoke out about the lasting damage created by their collective misdeeds. Critics and audiences already are debating whether Martin Scorsese‘s Oscar contender makes Belfort’s reckless behavior seem too seductive.

Related: Leonardo DiCaprio On Creating Fact-Based Black Comedy Without Glorifying Crooks
DiCaprio told Deadline that everybody associated with the film deplored the misdeeds of Belfort and his co-workers but that Scorsese never judges the bad guys he presents onscreen. He’d rather present the scoundrels warts and all, and let audiences decide. Still, Belfort’s actions as depicted in Wolf could make him a modern-day Gordon Gekko, if the cheering by a Wall Street crowd at a recent screening is any indication. General audiences have been more polarized, something that is reflected in the film’s C CinemaScore. The $100 million film was funded by upstart indie financier Red Granite, and it will need awards-season love to make back its money. Check out the DiCaprio video that was posted in late August:

  1. Props to DH for at least talking about this issue. People should check out the daughter’s article to get an understanding of the damage this guy – and as she admits he own father – caused. Clearly the filmmakers want to present this as a redemptive film outside the given political slant.

    1. Have you seen the film? The daughter of Belfort’s co-worker who wrote that piece admits she hasn’t. There’s nothing redemptive about the film. SPOILER!!!! He’s still an unchanged slimeball at the end, selling false hope to rubes with his get-rich-quick seminars. It’s a pitch-black satire about the dangers of greed.

    2. Is Scorsese biased to Jordan Belfort? I say yes. Why? Just one example: take the hilarious scene where DiCaprio is into the ludes Cerebral Palsy phase and drives his car 1 mile back home… safely. A few minutes later, we the audience see the resulting side-swiping damage DiCaprio REALLY did… still kind of funny… BUT Scorsese left out ONE MORE THING – that when the real Jordan Belfort drove that mile back home, he crashed into another car sending a woman to the hospital. NOW it’s not so funny, is it? This proves Scorsese made a conscious, obvious effort at: not showing the damage he caused victims – let’s NOT show anything that would get in the way of the comedy, right?! Scorsese’s bias is deplorable.

      1. Leo is the producer and he supervised the script. He obviously identifies with this guy. The turbocharged lifestyle, wild parties, endless string of models, loutish behavior (remember the telescope on the beach? Yuck!). He even did a commercial for the guy. The whole thing is nausea inducing.

  2. ‘The $100 million film was funded by upstart indie financier Red Granite and it will need awards season love to make back its money.’

    Bye-bye, Wolfie!

    1. I don’t care who’s attached, what idiot greenlights a $100-million three-hour R-rated film about Wall Street?

  3. OMG! I totally see what Leo is… Ucchhh, urrr… I…. (Bleeeeeech).

    Yeah, it happened. Sorry. I just puked.

  4. Glad to see the backlash against this film starting to pick up, amongst fans of Scorsese fans and DiCaprio, and Hollywood execs included.

    Supporting this film and buying tickets for it cannot be compared to liking biopics about bad people like Nixon, Henry Hill, Bugsy etc or movies about fictional antiheroes.

    In this case, the irredeemable subject stands to make hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of dollars from royalties and resulting TV deals, book deals, and higher speaking fees. Supporting the film is thereby supporting a crook who is laughing all the way to the bank. And he exaggerated his exploits and finesse to boot.

    Scorsese and Dicaprio don’t seem to get it. Whether the film deplores or celebrates Belfort’s life choices or not, and let’s be adults, it does both, it has its cake and snorts it too, Americans aren’t shocked that Wall Street goons do drugs and have sex. It’s tired in an era when FX, HBO, AMC and Showtime show similar indulgence.

    If anything good comes out of this movie, hopefully it’s that Belfort gets tar and feathered by the public for his shameless double dip.

    History won’t be kind to this film.

    1. History is built on stories like Belfort’s (from Adam to the Pharoahs, from Caligula to President fill-in-your-choice). People get mad because we don’t want to be the one who is the bad guy. And if the bad guy is Him, it must not be Us. We will even PAY to be told so. However, not enough people get mad, because we are all animals that still want what we want (possibly a version of what he wanted).

      Belfort has a story to tell/sell and people will pay him (more) to do so. Why be concerned about him making money off it, if you think “Americans aren’t shocked” by it anymore?

    2. And the feds will make sure Belfort’s income goes into a restitution fund. That man has served his time in prison and will continue to do so.

    3. Boycott this movie: You don’t know what you’re talking about. Belfort is not making a dime from this film. Whatever profit he makes from his books and lectures will be garnished as long as he lives. Why don’t you read up on up Belfort in the New York mag article before you make stuff up. And you are you to censor art? Just don’t see the movie and leave it at that.

      1. The scumbag hasn’t paid money yet. He lives in an expensive home and he just filed with the court saying he doesn’t think he owes any restitution. Maybe you’re the one that should read up. He’s a dirtbag.

  5. Okay, Leo, promote a criminal who has not repaid his victims, whose motivational skills were used to defraud and steal, and then get in your Prius and drive away. No wonder most Hollywood political endorsements sadly spell doom for many candidates.

  6. It’s entertaining how the public selectively get judgmental or critical of these type of issues. Let’s see, if they were to consistently hold the same standard being applied to WOWS against other films, what would the list look like? For example, what about American Hustle? Is anyone angered or disgusted over the real life people many of these characters are based off of who stole money from people for a long period of time? No? Was that not “glorified” through scenes of excess, partying and drugs (through the lens of 1970′s chic)? Come on. It’s based on a book about a period of time in history – many of the ludicrous scenes that people complain about come from HIS BOOK. It’s not like Scorsese and team threw in a scene about tossing a midget around the office or a woman shaving her head to cover the cost for a boob job for fun – it’s in the book, and detailed as such in it. Whether or not you agree with the character being portrayed (I don’t, and I hope others don’t), it’s a story. Treat it as such.

    1. From the moment I read “other films” I knew you were going to jump on American Hustle. Like a typical, touchy WOWS fanbot that’s resentful of the critical lauding and BO solidity American Hustle’s gotten in comparison.

    2. LMFAO! Yeah you all it’s a MOVIE!! Sure there were all kinds of things that could be considered “not nice” but its America!!

      I laughed my ass off! It was very enjoying and I sure don’t remember any of the usually placed claims about being based on true events or anything of the like so get over it. lol :-P

  7. I know my voice is feeble, but I am boycotting this film. I do not need to see a movie about excesses which celebrate the downfall and corruption of the American financial system, with so many unheralded victims still paying the price, having lost everything.

    Leo and Martin seem to forget that the greater public are not particularly discerning. They see screen actors reveling in excess and wanton disregard for their victims… most do not suddenly develop empathy for those victims and see what’s wrong with a system that allows abuses… no, most revel in the excesses of the film.

    1. With respect, you appear to be saying that the filmmakers made a bad film (which you have not even seen), because people are too lazy/stupid to think. Surely, that would not be the fault of the filmmakers?
      Yet, you haven’t even seen the film and it’s making you think about exactly what you think other people won’t think about. I think the film serves the purpose you are saying it doesn’t, just by the fact that you posted here. Hopefully, you are one of the people that WILL think about that.

    2. So no artist should ever create a work that could possibly be misinterpreted? Great logic. Scorsese’s own TAXI DRIVER was famously and horrifically misinterpreted by John Hinckley. Does that mean that film should also never have been allowed to exist? WOLF clearly (to most savvy filmgoers) condemns the excesses on display. I certainly got that loud and clear. I refuse to say the film should be forbidden to exist because some people can’t recognize that.

    3. Yes….and all the all Street boys were treated to a showing and they howled and screamed with joy.

      We should get even with them. Maybe take the anger out on those crooks.

  8. Implicit to the whole film is that if he had any real skill at all it was in motivating people to drink the Kool-Aid.(Totally misapplied of course which in a way sums up the narrative conflict. Kyle Chandler aside the protagonist is his own self-created antagonist.) Maybe if he had been a motivational speaker from the start his whole life (and for a lot of other people too) would have been much different.

  9. 100% agree! I won’t be paying to see Wolf of Wall Street because the fact that this scumbag is only getting richer and becoming a household name is disgusting. Maybe I’ll pay for it on iTunes if Jordan Belfort gets an ending in real life like Marie Antoinette and Marty decides to release a new “director’s cut” so to speak! And don’t even try to defend the movie by spouting off that Belfort must donate any money to the people he robbed and destroyed! He won’t donate one cent!

    1. This film is a masterpiece in all aspects from the writing, to the cinematography, and maybe most of all to the acting. Boycott the film, sure, but then you will never have the opportunity to get the real full message. Belfort will not profit from this film or his book. The feds are garnishing his profits until he dies. You’re boycotting a true American epic, and I hate that you will be missing out.

  10. I read the open letter and had a hard time being empathetic for the daughter. She came across as a spoiled brat. It is disheartening and that her dad screwed her over, but he was a crook. If her dad wasn’t caught she would most likely still the extravagant life without remorse or “snorting half of Columbia”. This open letter is merely a publicity stunt for her memoir or acting career. If she was cast in this film; I guarantee she would not have written it. I saw the film and do not think it glorified Jordan Belfort. It showed how these people had zero conscience or respect for anyone. They had no problem destroying lives. The movie was entertaining, just a bit raunchy.

  11. Kudos to Deadline for covering and unveiling this story/video. This is the type of material that Deadline should be covering and now I’m sure my comment won’t be blocked since I’m giving a compliment!

    Regardless of the initial public statements condemning Belfort’s actions by DiCaprio and the rest of the cast/crew of Wolf, the PERCEPTION of the audience will always outweigh everything. Oliver Stone crafted what is by far (and no one in their right mind can deny this), the most well made film dealing with Wall Street and our economic system. It crafts a clear, negative portrait of Douglas’ Gekko – a manipulative backstabber who betrays Charlie Sheen’s Fox character simply for the sake of a “zero sum game.” Gekko’s actions nearly lead to the end of thousands of jobs including that of protagonist Bud Fox’s father. Despite this depiction, Gekko was still hailed as a hero by wanna-be Wall Streeters.

    Does anyone really think a film that shows a bunch of dudes getting drunk/high with naked chicks is vilification? As a matter of fact, most people would uplift it and already have (Hangover series, anyone). DiCaprio can say whatever he wants but when someone like Oliver Stone (who has always been politically outspoken) manages to create an “anti-Wall Street” movie that still happens to garner admirers of its villain, you (and everybody else knows) that showing raunchiness and debauchery is not vilification but pure entertainment, which will win many admirers.

    Finally, follow the money – look at the founders of Red Granite. They come from an investment background. Does anyone think a bunch of rich investment class capitalists are going to finance an “anti-Wall Street” movie? People better wake up and stop drinking all that damn Kool Aid. Actions and words are two very different things.

  12. Am I crazy or is Leo even going to be nominated? Ty Sheridan, Chiwetel Ejiofer, Tom Hanks as Capt Philips, Phoenix, and McCaughney in DBC each turned in more dynamic performances than Leo this year.

    And this is coming from a Wolf fan.

  13. The sad thing about this film is that you can bet 70% of the men in the audience wish they were Jordan Belfort. I used to to work for a prestigious international bank. I went to see it with my wife. I really enjoyed the acting but at the end when I went out I felt quite empty. The film does not empower you with anything redeeming at the end. Maybe what is worse is that I did kind of regret leaving my job as a banker. I missed the easy and ugly side of it. The women, the easy money and the shallowness of it all. Now I am a filmmaker applying for every grant I can. The sad thing I discover about my own world is that it is also full of little assholes who want to screw you, steal your stories and who, if they were placed in Jordan’s shoes would act the same way. We are just against Belfort because he is our ugly mirror but we hate him even more because he has it all and we don’t. The film could only win with a guy like di Caprio. He makes Belfort likable. Go on youtube to see the real Belfort. He’s a real slimy crook who is reinventing himself as a motivational guru.

  14. Leonardo is again outstanding in this performance. The fact that it is a true story does not hurt his ability it only shows how he truly learns about these people good or bad. There will always be con artists in this world. I would never applaud these people but I will applaud Leonardo’s portrayal.

  15. Has no one ever watched a Scorsese movie before? Almost all of them have these same themes (greed, excess, masculine power, etc). Many of them have characters that are based on real people. Do people boycott GOODFELLAS because of its portrayal of the Mafia? Do people boycott LAST TEMPTATION because of….uh, well, whatever. If you’re not going to watch the movie, then stop talking about it. Or go watch CATCH ME IF YOU CAN AGAIN and boycott Spielberg while you’re at it.

    DiCaprio’s performance here is excellent (fact-based or not). He is an actor who has met the real man in the present day. I would guess he has a better idea of the guy’s character than any internet commenter (myself included). Belfort paid what he was made to pay for. He is an EX-criminal. We don’t have to like what he did. Almost all of us probably wouldn’t even know about him, if it wasn’t for his own book and/or this movie. SO THESE PRODUCTS ACTUALLY SERVE THEIR PURPOSE. Boycotting something that made you aware of the fact that you want to boycott something is kind of ridiculous. Get mad about the system, not an example within it.

  16. This was good entertainment. This year’s films have to be the weakest in a decade.

    Inside Llewyn – terrific portrait. But as a feature it lacked enough story to make the portrait a great film.

    Wolf – good entertainment. But nothing original. A good knockoff of Goodfellas without the originality that film came with.

    Nebraska – a nice film. Bigger than a portrait but not substantial enough or visceral enough to be great.

    Need I go on?

    The Wolf of Review

  17. Apparently Leo’s films average about $350 million per box office run. He’s only had several films that failed to make DOUBLE the initial investment, and currently, ‘WOLF’ is sitting at a 6-day $38 million domestic recoup, and tracking for at least $250 million all in (including overseas).

    Not bad. All press is good press.

  18. Really, The Wolf of Wall Street has left me wondering what it is exactly that a hot young rich guy like Leonardo DiCaprio does on weekends. I read about all of these alleged “excesses” in The Wolf of Wall Street and I have yet to see a description of some Excess that one can’t see on any given Friday night in any relatively large urban city. Paying money to watch three hours of heterosexual sex and drugging might be attractive if you couldn’t readily see it on any given weekend LIVE and for free. What I think is “telling” about WOWs is that its audience is allegedly leaning toward 95% over 25 years of age. To me, this means that the only people viewing the excesses in WOWs as excesses are old people who don’t get out much. I would like to invite Mr. DiCaprio to option the remake of The Devil’s Double if he really wants to “explore” true excesses.

  19. I’d like to comment on something other than the morality of seeing the film or how disgusted we are with the characters:

    I would go see anything with Leo in it. His acting was good, but it was actually painful to sit through many parts waiting for overdone gags or situations to finish. If it had been edited to two hours and skipped most of the teen-level humour, it might have had a chance. I’m not reacting to the situations themselves – all reports indicate the portrayals are accurate. I’m talking about how ridiculous conversations and scenes were dragged out too long to be entertaining. What might have been funny scenes (which we recognize in reality as sad scenes) were ruined by bozo script writing. If you’ve made a choice to boycott it for moral reasons, I congratulate you on your second bonus – not wasting three hours of your life on second rate film.

  20. Great work Jordan. Tell them as it is. Let them all read & weep.Enjoy life mate… Great times…

  21. The Movie will make a Billion Dollars easy for Jordan. Enjoy your life style Jordan, you deserve it mate…

  22. I wish that Mr. Scorsese and other producer-directors would choose to be uplifting with their films. Why glorify offensive language?
    I cannot walk down the street these days without hearing young people especially using the “f” word repeatedly and loudly. Isn’t it possible to use films to show people how life should be lived? Why must there be so much bad language, violence, and raw sex in movies?

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