Martin Scorsese was determined that “The Wolf of Wall Street” would have a sinking ship onscreen.
The blockbuster, Oscar-nominated 2013 film which starred Leonardo DiCaprio as real-life disgraced stockbroker Jordan Belfort, was originally a whopping four hours long. While the film was eventually trimmed down to 180 minutes, screenwriter Terence Winter revealed that Scorsese refused to cut an expensive yacht sequence.
“Because [the script] was so long, you know, the fear was there were going be things that we were gonna have to cut — like the sequence where the boat sinks and they get rescued at sea,” Winter told The Hollywood Reporter. “It was on the chopping block for the longest time because it was so wild and so expensive. To his credit, Marty just kept fighting and said, ‘We have to have that. I have to have that.’”
The scene involves Belfort (DiCaprio) and his wife Naomi (Margot Robbie) having to be rescued by helicopter when sailing from Italy to Monaco in a desperate attempt to stop federal investigators from accessing bank accounts.
“There was actually a four-hour cut of that movie initially and it was just a lot more insanity — if you can believe there was room for any,” Emmy winner Winter continued. “But I was absolutely thrilled that everything got in there. Every possible thing… including the kitchen sink… is in that movie. I could not have been more happy with it.”
Acclaimed editor and longtime Scorsese collaborator Thelma Schoonmaker previously told IndieWire that the four-hour cut is beloved by those who had seen it, and Scorsese even considered releasing it in two parts. “Well, we thought about it,” Schoonmaker said. “But the film doesn’t work split in half. It has to have a certain arc.”
Actress Robbie recently revealed that the overnight success of “The Wolf of Wall Street” was overwhelming at times, saying, “Something was happening in those early stages and it was all pretty awful. I remember saying to my mom, ‘I don’t think I want to do this.’ And she just looked at me, completely straight-faced, and was like, ‘Darling, I think it’s too late not to.’ That’s when I realized the only way was forward.”
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