Leonardo DiCaprio answers 'Wolf of Wall Street' critics
December 31st, 2013
04:22 PM ET

Leonardo DiCaprio answers 'Wolf of Wall Street' critics

Leonardo DiCaprio has a message for those who think his latest film "The Wolf of Wall Street" glorifies greed or condones the actions of those who bilked investors out of money: you have "missed the boat entirely."

The actor gave an interview to HitFix in which he spoke out about the controversy and criticism surrounding the Martin Scorsese directed film.

"It's exciting to be a part of a film, in a way, that is kind of bold and is taking a chance like that, and I think that anyone that thinks this is a celebration of Wall Street and this sort of hedonism — yes, the unique thing about Marty is that he doesn't judge his characters," DiCaprio said. "And that was something that you don't quite understand while you're making the movie, but he allows the freedom of this almost hypnotic, drug-infused, wild ride that these characters go on. And he allows you, as an audience — guilty or not — to enjoy in that ride without judging who these people are. Because ultimately, he keeps saying this: 'Who am I to judge anybody?'"

Not only have the reviews for the movie been polarizing, the daughter of one of the men involved in the financial scheme the film is based on has spoken out. Christina McDowell wrote an open letter for the LA Weekly expressing her disappointment with the making of "Wolf of Wall Street." Jordan Belfort, the real life financier that DiCaprio portrays in the film, testified against her father, Tom Prousalis, she said.

"You people are dangerous," McDowell wrote. "Your film is a reckless attempt at continuing to pretend that these sorts of schemes are entertaining, even as the country is reeling from yet another round of Wall Street scandals."

CNN Money: Real 'Wolf of Wall Street' says he will give film royalties to victims

In his interview, DiCaprio characterizes the film, on which he also served as a producer, as shining a much needed light.

"I mean ultimately I think if anyone watches this movie, at the end of "Wolf of Wall Street," they're going to see that we're not at all condoning this behavior," he said. "In fact we're saying that this is something that is in our very culture and it needs to be looked at and it needs to be talked about. Because, to me, this attitude of what these characters represent in this film are ultimately everything that's wrong with the world we live in."

Filed under: movies

soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Dave

    Yea...ok Leo...and Scarface deterred people from selling drugs...

    January 20, 2014 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Andy

    I can't believe how naive both Scorsese and Di Caprio are if they think that "The wolf of wall street" is not going to encourage people to see greed as a justifiable and even enjoyable human trait. There was a great opportunity here, but "The wolf of wall street" fails to show the devastating consequences that reckless greed has on our society. It's a shame that both these incredibly creative minds have channelled their powers into such a one-sided perspective of a huge issue. Di Caprio states that Scorsese doesn’t judge his characters, but he did choose not to show the most important ramifications of his character’s actions and to spend nearly 3 hours showing off the most trivial. They say it’s a dark comedy, but where’s the dark?

    January 19, 2014 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  3. Thomas

    Stupid movie; foul language, portrays greed, lust, and a whole bunch of wickedness. No wonder our kids are weirdos killing people in schools.

    January 11, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bill

    Best movie I've seen it at least 2-3 years.

    January 8, 2014 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  5. Meh


    January 5, 2014 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bob OHearn

    Some people say that humans are basically good, but that does not jibe with the fact that the majority of us are rather greedy, envious, and hateful, which is also the reason why we are still doing time on this rock, and will continue to do so until we grow up and stop behaving like mad children.

    January 5, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. woodie

    Wall Street is crooked as a dogs hind leg. I'm not interested in seeing that portrayed on the big screen.

    January 4, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. joedog

    I read that Scorsese had the F Bomb dropped 506 times in the movie. Now this picture can take over as Scorsese's worst flick by moving Scarface into 2nd place for the dumbest and most juvenile screenplay ever made.

    January 3, 2014 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. saw it

    I wonder how leo researched for the burning candle scene..........he's method, right?

    January 3, 2014 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. Ford Fischer

    Two months ago, I had the opportunity to sit down and interview Jordan Belfort himself, the subject of the film. The interview can be seen at http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1059811 I think I support the filmmakers and Belfort himself for understanding the dangers of the mindset Belfort had back in those days. He realizes his behavior was destructive. He realizes the harm from his own greed. He is brutally honest about how his actions hurt himself, his family, and countless victims, and to an intelligent audience, this film has a real lesson to teach about greed. I absolutely support the making of this film, and invite criticism of the lifestyle portrayed, but not its portrayal.

    January 2, 2014 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. The Great Ordini

    Whoever doesn't like (love) this masterwork... I don't love or like you... You're not someone I want to know. You're clueless.

    January 2, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • joedog

      It appears that your sentiments have been influenced by Scorsese. I see that you just raised your head from a table and about a half pound of Bolivian Marching Powder is stuck to your face.

      January 3, 2014 at 6:46 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jones

    Scorsese has lost his touch the departed was one of the worse movies ever made. Plot had more holes than Swiss cheese. We seemed to hold on to directors long after they have fallen off just because of some good movies 15 years ago

    January 2, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Al

    Movie was awesome

    January 2, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jessica

    I couldn't believe this was a Scorsese movie. It was that bad.

    January 2, 2014 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sandra


    January 2, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Did you mean revolting? Revoking does not make sense in the context in which you used it.

      January 3, 2014 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  16. ZenCandy

    Hated it. Brilliant movie, because I related to it and responded to it–however I knew that ultimately it was *ME* they were screwing, *I* was the victim–right down to the ticket purchase.

    January 2, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Doug

    Leo is right– the whole point of the movie is that, even though Belfort and Stratton-Oakmont seem invincible and dominant with their drugs and partying lifestyles, that they come crashing down quickly– all because that lifestyle doesn't really work. If you pay attention to the story arc, this film is clearly making a statement about how this lifestyle doesn't work.

    January 2, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Big Kar

    Saw it last night...I dont care about all the political BS...the movie was flat out funny and entertaining...and thats all I care about.

    January 2, 2014 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  19. Ajay101

    This article is in need of some claification. The REAL Jordan Belfort is not willingly giving the film royalties to the victims, he is holding on to the money in an attempt to renegotiate a court mandate to repay victims a ttl of 110 Mill

    January 2, 2014 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  20. alex

    Hollywood people talking about how terrible greed is. Yet this guy makes about $20 million per movie. Once these stars star making $25,000 to $50,000 a year, I'll take them more seriously.

    January 1, 2014 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fae

      Oh, get over it. People pay to see these movies. Almost NONE of these "hollywood people" / actors start out making that kind of money, by the way (Haven't you ever heard the term 'struggling artist?'). Actors are performers, and performers are paid to entertain people. That's a big deal. He didn't con anyone out of the money, he didn't steal it, he didn't get it by immoral means. It's his salary, so who are you to judge that and say he's like, a hypocrite? And that he can't talk about how greed is bad because HE is fortunate enough to have a good salary!? Suddenly only people with $50,000 or less are allowed to talk about greed or be taken seriously for the work they do!?

      January 2, 2014 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • @alex

      Once YOU manage to increase your pay to 25k-50k per year, maybe we'll start taking YOU more seriously.

      January 3, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Fred

    Okay, we'll accept the fact that this movie isn't glorifying or condoning anything. Yet for three hours it felt like we were watching a more lively version of the Jersey Shore reality show...no story to back it up.The writing is obvious and lacking, and the acting, well the acting coincides with the writing. We couldn't relate to these characters because we never really got to know them. If you build a message, they will come. And all the negative criticism is saying, "YOU missed the boat."

    January 1, 2014 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Melanie Nathan

      On a positive note – though I am not one to respond to cold calls – maybe it will wake those idiots who do UP.... to realize that at the end of each and every phone call is another CON waiting to happen. Thats the part of the film that amazed me. That people can even fall for such BS. Maybe iot will wake the rest of America up to its own greed.

      January 1, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sass

      I have not seen the movie yet!! I plan to see it. I looks like a wild ride with a crash landing,,, which is fun, its a MOVIE!! I I respect people/actors/humanitarians/artists/rich/poor/greedy/virtuous/ WHATEVER....you go for the ride and then you go home...Its a movie people!! And I LOVE MOVIES!!! 🙂 Can't wait to watch!!

      January 1, 2014 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  22. short and sweet

    This movie is clearly depicting the reality of this peeny stockbroker. I never sensed any condoning of the awful behavior. Martin Scorcese simply took us to the insanity of Belford's world. Clearly the FBI agent, played by Kyle Chandler, was the hero of the story. There was comedy in the movie, but I was laughing at the charactors, not with them

    January 1, 2014 at 3:56 am | Report abuse |
  23. Name*mP

    Even though I follow Di Caprio's idea about making a movie like this, I still think it is a vision of the US that didn't need to be shown to other countries which will thrive on saying : Look how perverted they are,,etc..
    This movie should stay in the US only and for the US only

    December 31, 2013 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  24. FeedTheRightWolf

    I call it the 'Scarface' syndrome. People who watch these films as training videos, rather than the social commentaries they are.

    December 31, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heeeeeyyyyyy...

      I can relate to that. I watched a lot of the Happy Days TV show growing up and have based my entire existence and person upon the Fonz.

      December 31, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |

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