DiCaprio: New Film Reveals Our Darker Nature
Leonardo DiCaprio says his new film The Wolf Of Wall Street offers viewers a glimpse of our "darker nature".
The movie, which is based on a novel of the same name, tells the story of crooked stockbroker Jordan Belfort whose obsession with wealth and power fuels a wild, hedonistic lifestyle of yachts and helicopters, women and drugs.
Some critics say the film - which contains more swearing than any film ever made - glamourizes sex and substance abuse.
DiCaprio told Sky News that he does not disagree with the sentiment.
"These people took advantage of a lot of others. A lot of lives were ruined but our attempt in making this movie was to do what I think movies do so well and that's to get you into the mindset of who these people are.
"That's the best thing a film can do is give you a closer understanding of the darker nature of all of us.
"For me on a personal level, Jordan was incredibly helpful and he wrote this book as a cautionary tale and this is a film that is a cautionary film, except that it's not didactic."
The real Jordan Belfort - who defrauded thousands of people - has seen his book rocket up the bestsellers list since the film was released in the United States.
Many victims are angry that he therefore continues to make money from his crimes, albeit indirectly, and feel the film should not have been made.
"From what I understand he's not making any money from this movie," says DiCaprio.
"That being said, we can't all do films about Gandhi.
"Without films like this, there would be no Citizen Kane, without films like this there would be no There Will Be Blood.
"We're portraying these people as authentically as we possibly can and I think that's something ultimately very important to understanding the world that we live in."
The Wolf Of Wall Street is DiCaprio's fifth collaboration with director Martin Scorsese after Gangs of New York, The Departed, Shutter Island, and The Aviator.
"It's definitely a friendship, but one that's developed over the years," says DiCaprio of Scorsese.
"We come from completely different generations. You have to understand that from my generation, the relationship with Scorsese and De Niro is the sort of gold standard of cinema and we grew up with those movies, and everything is compared to what they did.
"So the second I got the opportunity to finance my own films, there was really only one person that I targeted just to work with once - that was on Gangs of New York with Marty - and since then we've realised that we have similar taste in things, even though we come from different generations.
"We have the same intent when we want to make a movie, and it's been this great relationship. We've built a lot of trust in one another."
The Wolf Of Wall Street has been nominated for four BAFTA awards (including for Best Actor and Best Director), and is being tipped for Oscar success. DiCaprio has never won an Academy Award.
"It would be an incredible honour, absolutely, " he said.
"But what I've realised is that you have absolutely no control of that. I don't, the filmmakers don't. You never know how an audience is going to feel when they watch the work that you do. All you can do is pressure yourself every single day to try to be as authentic as possible about your portrayal of these people and then, the rest is completely out of your hands.
The film got its UK premiere in London's Leicester Square last night and is released on January 17.
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