Martin Scorse is coming off directing his first movie intended for a family audience with the Oscar-winning Hugo, so maybe he felt that he needed to make up for the difference with his followup: The Wolf of Wall Street, a skewering look at white collar crime and hedonism in the 1990s, based on the memoir written by former Long Island penny stockbroker Jordan Belfort (who was indicted for his role in a massive securities scheme that shined a spotlight on the widespread corruption and under-handed dealings on Wall Street in the late 20th century).
The first clip released from Wolf of Wall Street is apparently relatively tame by the film’s standards, with Mr. Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), his mistress Naomi Lapaglia (Margot Robbie) and coworker Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) plotting how to best smuggle their illicit funds out of the country, whilst lower-rung employee Brad (Jon Bernthal) and a half-naked woman – wrapped in clear tape and dollar bills – await to hear their final decision.
Variety has confirmed that the theatrical cut of Wolf of Wall Street runs one minute short of three hours, with a Paramount executive quoted as having called the film “nutty, debaucherous, great.” Indeed, that about sums up everything we’ve seen of this movie thus far, ranging from the first clip – featuring the 7Horse tune “Meth Lab Zoso Sticker” that was also used to great effect in the second trailer – to the original theater preview, which is a blast of bad behavior and scenes with DiCaprio mugging or freaking out like there’s no tomorrow. (That said: the more I see of Matthew McConaughey in the movie, the more I suspect he’ll be a real scene-stealer.)
Judging by a new article published by THR, the reason Scorsese and longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker took longer in post-production than expected (hence, they missed the original November release date target) might have more to do with pleasing the MPAA, rather than needing more time to whip the raw footage into shape.
Insiders for THR are confirming that The Wolf of Wall Street was originally in danger of getting branded with an NC-17, before Scorsese agreed to trim down certain sequences that involve explicit sex and/or nudity (the R-Rated theatrical version still has “sequences of strong sexual content” and “graphic nudity,” among other types of adult content). Admittedly, in a film that’s based on real events – where the involved parties committed truly despicable acts and ruined the lives of others for their own personal gain – it seems a little silly to worry so much about sex or naked people being the “offensive” parts of the story.
On that note: it should be interesting to see how Scorsese and screenwriter Terence Winter (creator of Boardwalk Empire) toe the line when it comes to examining Belfort’s misdeeds, without glorifying them in the process. After years of deconstructing the lives of gangsters, mobsters and other assorted criminals, it’s safe to assume that Scorsese is ready to handle the lives of miscreant Wall Street players.
The Wolf of Wall Street opens in U.S. theaters on December 25th, 2013.