Leonardo DiCaprio made a cameo at The Four Seasons on Wednesday at the luncheon celebrating his new movie, The Wolf of Wall Street. Brief public appearances are par for the course for this star; we forgave him cutting out before the short ribs. He was en route with director Martin Scorsese to the White House to show this edgy crime, sex and drugs romp to the first couple. Something tells me that they are cool enough to love this hilarious comedy, but may have to keep their exuberance under wraps. Leo stars as Jordan Belfort, a Wall Street stockbroker whose addictions to money, power, sex, drugs, and excess may resonate in a bad way with those still bitter over the pass the financial wheeler-dealers got over their Main Street victims.
Nobody was bitter at the lunch. Jonah Hill, who plays Leo's partner in Quaalude-fueled shenanigans, Matthew McConaughey, who teaches him the ropes, and the wives, played to perfection by Australian actress Margot Robbie as "The Dutchess" and Cristin Milloti as Teresa joined costume designer Sandy Powell, editor Thelma Schoonmaker and screenwriter Terry Winter for a panel discussion ably moderated by Scott Feinberg. Everyone was marveling at McConaughey's performance in the film, short but sweet. Angular in the movie, his cheekbones like pointy headlights, he was filming with Scorsese around the time he was losing weight for another excellent movie, Dallas Buyers Club. Now wholesome, his handsome face rounded out, he recounted the story about his improvisation: his vocal breast thumping made it into Wolf of Wall Street's final cut.
Margot Robbie explained how she was cast, auditioning for "Marty" in a scene using a baby/ come hither voice, completely ruling Leo's Jordan. And Cristin Milloti told how she was filming during the day and starring in Once on Broadway at night. Jean Dujardin was not present at the lunch, but casting him as the French partner in crime was a coup, The Artist actor improvising in French and English. Schoonmaker spoke about the editing: Marty notes what he wants as they look at dailies, and she makes it shine. This is the director's funniest movie yet in a stellar career, and Leo channels Jerry Lewis, especially in one breathless sequence that includes him hanging, his leg dangling from his Lamborghini. You have to appreciate moments where he's doing lines of coke while his kid is watching cartoon Popeye pumping up on spinach.
When asked how he knew what it was like to be on 'ludes, screenwriter Terry Winters said he had taken them memorably after a final exam. His girlfriend made hot dogs and they were the best hot dogs he ever had. And then just as he was supposed to join her in bed for what promised to be the best sex ever, he fell asleep for the next 18 hours. Sounds just right!
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.