‘The Wolf of Wall Street’: How Jordan Belfort Once Showed Leonardo DiCaprio What Taking Drugs Felt Like
Leonardo DiCaprio is known for sometimes doing extensive research and preparation to embody his characters. So when it came to portraying The Wolf of Wall Street’s Jordan Belfort, there were some aspects of his character DiCaprio needed help nailing down.
One of those aspects was the real-life Belfort’s constant use of drugs. To make sure DiCaprio did him justice, Belfort showed DiCaprio how to do drugs .
Why Leonardo DiCaprio never did drugs
Unlike The Wolf Of Wall Street’s Jordan Belfort, DiCaprio himself shared he abstained from taking drugs. This was in no small part due to the environment the Oscar-winner grew up in.
“Never done it,” DiCaprio said in a revealing interview with the LA Times. “That’s because I literally saw this stuff every day when I was 3 or 4 years old. So Hollywood was a walk in the park for me.”
But because it’s Hollywood, encountering others who indulged in drugs was unavoidable. And he’s seen firsthand how that’s taken a toll on others.
“I’d go to parties and it was there and, yeah, there’s that temptation. Hollywood is a very volatile place where artists come in and they essentially say they want to belong,” DiCaprio continued. “It’s incredibly vulnerable to be an actor and also get criticism at a young age when you’re formulating who you are. We’ve seen a lot of people fall victim to that, and it’s very unfortunate.”
Jordan Belfort had to teach Leonardo DiCaprio how to look high
For The Wolf of Wall Street, DiCaprio’s method acting meant that he had to learn what it was like to be under the influence. This required assistance from Jordan Belfort himself. In an interview with the New York Post, Belfort described how he helped DiCaprio capture Belfort’s constant drug use.
“Leo had never done drugs,” Belfort said. “So I showed him what it looks and feels like when you are high on quaaludes. I…started crawling around. We were both on the floor, drooling. His father walked into the room and asked us what the f*** we were doing.”
“Yeah, with the ‘luudes sequence – they don’t exist, so I needed to ask Jordan,” DiCaprio explained. “I have a whole video chronology of him rolling around on the floor for me.”
DiCaprio also complimented Belfort on the author’s honesty, which further helped DiCaprio’s performance.
“What I appreciated most about his book was that he was unflinching in how honest he was. There was some incredibly embarrassing stuff,” DiCaprio continued. “When I sat down with him, he said: ‘You know, it wasn’t this bad. It was even worse at times and I’m going to tell you why…’ That made him a great partner. I would call him between takes.”
Martin Scorsese had a drug expert on set for ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’
Apart from Belfort, iconic filmmaker Martin Scorsese also made sure that Jonah Hill and DiCaprio delivered in their performances. He did this by providing a drug expert to help the two actors on set, which the Superbad actor asserted was a tremendous help.
“Because we were on these really strong Quaaludes, we had a drug expert and I would ask a lot of questions about what the drug felt like,” Hill told Vibe. “The way she expressed it about being on that many Quaaludes is that your finger feels like it weighs 10 pounds. So I imagined that there was a tiny version of myself actually in my body having to move around dead weight.”