‘The Wolf of Wall Street’: Leonardo DiCaprio Injured His Back After Rolling Down Stairs in Quaalude Scene

The Wolf of Wall Street is widely regarded as one of the funniest movies that both Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese have been involved with. The dark comedy tells the story of Jordan Belford, a savage Wall Street stockbroker who pushes questionable stocks to unsuspecting investors. 

A large part of what makes the movie so funny is its zany sequences, which often involve profanity, raunchy sexual encounters, and copious drug use. One scene, in particular, in which DiCaprio loses his motor skills due to taking a particularly powerful batch of quaaludes.  

Apparently, DiCaprio really hurt himself while filming the hilarious scene. The Oscar-winning actor injured his back while rolling down the stairs to his Lamborghini.  

Martin Scorsese vividly remembers Leonardo DiCaprio’s quaalude scene in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’

Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio arrives for the 92nd Oscars| VALERIE MACON / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

RELATED: ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’: Leonardo DiCaprio Had To Wear a Neck Brace After His Infamous ‘Quaalude’ Scene — ‘It Was 3 Days of Crawling Around’

Scorsese has shot many movies over the course of his career, but his memories from The Wolf of Wall Street are still quite vivid. He recalled shooting DiCaprio’s infamous quaalude scene during a 2019 interview with BBC Radio 1.

“Well, he melts, completely,” Scorsese said. “He melts on the phone. And he melts first in his dialogue, where Bo Dietl’s on the other side of the phone, saying ‘Are you stoned?’ … [He] goes, ‘No, I’m not,’ you can’t understand what he’s saying.” 

Scorsese couldn’t believe how ridiculous the scene looked after filming it. 

“Mortifying, absolutely mortifying,” Scorsese added. 

Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese had a dilemma when they realized the car doors opened upward

Even though the production crew had pretty much every aspect of the scene mapped out, they happened to overlook one important detail. The Lamborghini DiCaprio was supposed to enter had scissor doors, which open upward, rather than outward. 

“Well, opening the car door, I had in mind that he would crawl across the ground and open the car door and get in the car,” Scorsese said. “But when I chose the car—I really liked that car that we had, I forget what it was—but I realized too late that the door opened up.”

This revelation made it extremely difficult for DiCaprio to open the door while laying on the ground, but he managed to make it work. 

“So I looked at Leo and I said, ‘What are we gonna do,’ I said, ‘You still had to open the door.’ He says, ‘I’ll use my foot.’”

He injured his back while rolling down the stairs to his car

Scorsese was really impressed by how DiCaprio was able to pull the scene off. However, part of what made the scene look so authentic was the fact that DiCaprio had injured his back rolling down the stairs to the car. 

“It’s really [Jacques] Tati or Jerry Lewis,” Scorsese said. “He’s extraordinary in mimicking and like almost a mime in his body. And he actually, interestingly enough—because he fell back in the previous shot—and kind of knocked his back out a bit. So what you see there is very real.” 

The Wolf of Wall Street went on to be a major critical and commercial success, being nominated for five Oscars.