The other night I had the pleasure of seeing Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece, The Wolf of Wall Street, for the sixth time.  Afterwards, Paul Thomas Anderson, assistant director Adam Somner, and Martin Scorsese sat a few feet away from me for a chat. I got as much video as I could. The first one has a freeze frame as it was blurry. But the video kicks in around the 4 minute mark. The other two are working fine.  Listen to Scorsese talk about Wolf, how Steven Spielberg visited the set and wouldn’t leave as the two practically co-directed the scene where DiCaprio almost leaves but decides not to.

Finally, Scorsese addresses the so-called controversy.  He says that he and Terence Winter never wanted to give the audience a sobering “message” because when that happens people go home and forget about it. Their cathartic experience makes it seem as though all is right with the world. Clearly, all is not right with the world. PTA has a great quote about Scorsese and his work, saying he is so far beyond having to explain his work.

To me, Wolf of Wall Street is a film for our time. This moment in American culture where are living stark dualities.  Not just between the 99 and the 1% but the picture given to us about the lives we should want.    Enjoy!

(Apologies that you can hear my laughter throughout)

The rest continues after the jump.

“A number of people have asked me, what if you had stated your position, the morality, etc. It’s a bad thing they behave this way, not behaving just in terms of the drugs and the sex, it’s the violence of the “confidence man,” taking your confidence and your trust. That’s one guy here, and perhaps other guys, or it could become the entire financial establishment. That’s happened many many times in history. So you take this as a microcosm, this kind of thinking is what it’s about. It’s obscene. And in a way I felt that if ever there was a moment where a character expresses “this is really bad.” I know the guys, I told them, listen to it. You say, okay, fine, you go home and you feel you’ve done your duty by watching a film that has an obvious moral statement, you know it’s there, and forget about it. In the meantime, I wanted to get deeper, and provoke it, provoke the audience.   It came out of just frustration.  Frustration and anger about this situation in 2008. Go back and there’s more and more. People get thrown out of their houses, people sleeping in the street, people killing themselves. Why, so you can have a plane ride and have sex on a plane. That is the thinking that disturbs me. Saying, what you do with your private life is up to you. But when it’s affecting people the other way, and nobody goes to jail or nobody is really stopped, I don’t understand.   Anyway, that’s my reason for doing it this way. ”

Paul Thomas Anderson: “I think you’re way past having to defend any of your movies. Whatever you do for us, for me, for my generation, who grew up with you, you were always The Man. There was you, and then there was some other people.  We always felt like, I always felt like, how the fuck does he do it? How does he get the camera to move like that? As you can see there are people, left and right, trying to imitate you, trying to rip-off how you do it.  None of us can get it right. There’s a certain vocabulary that a few of us are armed with that get to make movies that directly comes from Marty and he will talk about the films he gets it from but you can never really recognize–you can recognize sort of what he’s talking about but he’s done moves and things, an attack on telling the story that is unique and was brand new when he started doing it, all the way along he’s been doing it, but he’s been developing it over the years – you see the culmination of it every time he makes a movie and seeing it tonight in this movie – we look at him and he is The Governor. ”



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  • KT

    Sasha, this is great! You mentioned in your podcast you have had the chance to meet several filmmakers in person. I imagine Spielberg really doesn’t make himself accessible. I remember your post on Ang Lee last year. You also said you got to meet Kathryn Bigelow…how did that encounter happen? Was that around time of Hurt Locker?

  • Only seen the first part of it, but laready cleared my schedule for the rest.

    Fascinating stuff, Sasha. Thanks for sharing!

  • Vily

    Thank you, Sasha! This is amazing. The more and more I think about this I realize that Leo CAN and SHOULD win for this!

    12 Years or American Hustle will take Best Picture with Gravity also a potential Winner

    Cuaron will most likely take Best Director

    Leto will take Best Supporting Actor

    12 Years a Slave will win Best Adapted Screenplay

    Dallas Buyers Club will also win for Best Hair and Make-Up

    Based on that I just can’t fathom that they’ll a 3rd Oscar to Dallas Buyer’s Club to McConaughey and give no Oscar to The Wolf of Wall Street.

    Leonardo DiCaprio has been a champion of this movie, a Producer and the reason why this passion project of his got made. The brilliance of Marty is the reason why it’s so brilliant as well but I think that Leo could win the only Oscar for the movie and it would be a Well-Deserved Oscar as well! 🙂

  • WW

    Sasha, this was fantastic. I could’ve listened to Scorsese speak for another hour about ”The Wolf of Wall Street.” Thanks for taping it.

    By the way, I’m thrilled that Marty, Leo and Jonah all got Oscar nominations, but Margot Robbie really deserved one, too. She’s a stunning Australian actress making her U.S. film debut and she more than held her own; witness her bedroom scene where she threatens to splash Jordan with a glass of water. And here’s the amazing part: She’s only 23. (Leo’s 39.) Some have accused ”Wolf” of being misogynistic, but her Naomi is strong and no pushover. Margot oughta have gotten a Supporting Actress Oscar nod the way Cathy Moriarty got one for ”Raging Bull.” Except for the Georgia Film Critics, nobody nominated Robbie, and she really got robbed.

  • Vily

    Margot Robbie is definitely a great talented actress. I definitely think that she’ll get much more notice in the coming years! 🙂

  • WW

    It’s been said that Bruce Dern and Matthew McConaughey each have a good narrative behind their Oscar campaigns. Dern’s a 77-year-old Hollywood veteran, and an Oscar for ”Nebraska” would recognize his lifetime of work. McConaughey’s a one-time rom-com leading man who turned his career around and lost 40 pounds to play AIDS patient Ron Woodroof in ”The Dallas Buyers Club.”

    So what should Leo DiCaprio’s narrative be? He gives the rangiest and riskiest performance, arguably a career-best, showing off his dramatic AND comedic chops in ”The Wolf of Wall Street.” But is that enough? Could it be that he played TWO rich young hedonists who loved to party, yet these starring roles were as different as night and day in ”Wolf” and ”Great Gatsby”? What a year it’s been for him.

    Rachel Syme wrote a terrific piece for the New Yorker, called ”The Great Fratsby,” comparing and contrasting the two pictures.

    I hope Academy voters don’t write off Leo because he’s only 39. The Oscars don’t seem too generous with recognizing matinee idols at the height of their youth (Paul Newman, Robert Redford, anyone?). As opposed to their fawning attention to pretty young actresses. Leo’s 2 decades of work, from ”Gilbert Grape” to ”Titanic” to ”Aviator” to ”Wolf,” speaks for itself; his time should be NOW.

  • steve50

    McConaughey’s a one-time rom-com leading man who turned his career around and lost 40 pounds to play AIDS patient Ron Woodroof in ”The Dallas Buyers Club.”

    I’m glad you said this WW because I was beginning to think I was the only one who felt this way. MM performance was good and a complete turnaround from what we’re used to. He’s done good work lately, for a change, but nothing close to what his competitors for BA have done.

    This isn’t “hate”, it’s objective observation. Oscar is terribly guilty of rewarding this kind of thing – using the award to reward career turnarounds instead of true skill.

    Nobody else could have played Jordan Belfort; nobody else could have played Solomon Northrup, for that matter. Many actors could have dropped weight and played Ron Woodruff just as effectively and probably more so.

  • m1

    Many actors could have dropped weight and played Ron Woodruff just as effectively and probably more so.

    And yet, the acting Oscars are not about what “many other actors” can do. They are about what that one actor does in that one specific role.

  • Scaraffe

    Hey. I think you got the Assistant Director’s name wrong. I can’t find a Adam Sumner in the movie’s imdb page, but there is a Adam Bernard with an Assistant Director credit –

  • Blom
  • Thanks for that Sasha. Awesome insight into the making of the best movie of the year and one of the best of all time!

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Thanks, Sasha! These were great. I think if Marty could have gotten around to explain more the reasons behind the film’s misunderstood pace, Thelma would have been lock.

    Everyone seen TRUE DETECTIVE yet? McConaughey’s so great in that. And he deserved a nomination last year for MAGIC MIKE over several in that Supporting Actor line-up. This year, it was his stunning performance in MUD the one I’d have rewarded.

  • Aragorn

    I LOVE the fact that this quite edgy, fun movie was made by a 70+ year old director who could have chosen a much safer, conventional and even conservative route. But no, he just did what he did! Kudos to a great filmmaker…
    Those who say that this movie glorifies, fictionalizes that life style and people apparently do not know much about NYC, the Hamptons, Wall Street and Wall Street people…I do…unfortunately there were (still are) people like the ones in the movie…not many, but they existed.and still do..that lifestyle was one of the worst kept secrets in NYC circles for a long time…and i dont know many others but what i felt at the end for our hero(!) was just sadness…sadness caused by the emptiness that he created for his life….
    It is a great movie by a great director and great performance by an actor who has always been taken for granted and underappreciated…

  • Aragorn

    And in a world where Steve McQueen is called a “master”movie maker/director (after what, 3 movies????) we need to find something new to describe someone like Scorsese or Spielberg and so on…

  • WW

    Trivia: The Golden Globes honored THREE winners who were actors in ”The Wolf of Wall Street”: Leo DiCaprio, Matt McConaughey and Spike Jonze. And now they’re all Oscar nominees this season. 😉

  • KT

    I loved them joking about not being able to get rid of Spielberg. Was it just me, or did it seem like a big inside joke all three of them were in on?? Maybe people in the industry realize that Spielberg likes to attach himself to better directors than he is, Kubrick, Lean, Scorsese, Kurosawa, Hitchcock (that’s a hilarious story; Hitch kicked him off the set).

  • Sasha Stone

    You’re welcome guys. I wish I had taped the whole thing but I was afraid I was going to lose my battery. I think I got most of it. And Bryce, he explains the pacing so well – they wanted it to be really really fast then slow way down for the conversations.

  • Kasia

    “It is so endless, that whole sequence! I mean, to the benefit of everybody in this room, it is so fucking long and great!” – one of the reasons why I love PTA 🙂

  • Vily

    I think that even if McConaughey wins the SAG it won’t be a done deal. The SAG win for both McConaughey and Blanchett will have a big asterisk because neither Amy Adams nor DiCaprio were nominated there, especially DiCaprio who was a late comer into the party.

    Oscar voting won’t start until a month after so I actually like the the SAG is so close to the GG and Critics Choice.

    McConaughey is not nominated at the BAFTA where Ejiofor might win but Leo may steal it too.

    Leo will have more chances to shine like at the Santa Barbara Film Festival where he’ll be rewarded for the Vanguard award alongside Marry on Feb. 2nd when it will be closer to the voting and it will be fresh in voters minds.

    McConaughey may have his narrative but to me no one can beat Leo’s narrative.

    20 years since first nomination. One of the greatest actors of his generation. Gives the performance of his career AND is also a producer of the film (he’ll probably get the Oscar nod for that as well); has been is amazing Oscar winning best pictures such as Titanic and The Departed as well as other great movies such as The Aviator, Inception, Django Unchained. Blood Diamond and Catch me If you can.

    I think that a lot of people may feel that this is his time. Plus – what utter disgrace it would be to give Dallas Buyers Club 3 Oscar and TWOWS none. No way! Leo is an underdog but the GG win as well as the BFCA win give him done momentum and the Academy can’t just write him off. People like Day Lewis, Kate Winslet, Russel Crowe, etc as well as Marty and De Niro will vote for him. Julia Roberts, etc. Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz will vote for Leo also.

    If these and others gather around I think Leo could win. Hopefully the narrative can take more shape in the coming weeks. After the SAG excitement dies down of course. Plus, McConaughey’s speeches are not the best so far. Leo is classy and graceful and that counts.. Just look at his thank you the Academy memo!

  • Eric S.

    I love so much of this film, but I’ve been wondering why it’s so pedestrian visually. Based on this video, it’s clear (with exceptions like the hotel room sequence) that Scorsese didn’t care to design very many of the the shots, for whatever reason (I’m assuming the “short preproduction period”). Thanks for posting Sasha. It’s helped fill in some of the blanks.

  • austin111

    Yup, I also love Wolf, Scorsese, and DiCaprio. I’d love to see anybody win something for this film. I really don’t see the controversy, either. You have to be willing to look past the titillating stuff (if it is indeed that to some people–yuk!) and into the mirror it’s holding up. A fair number of people just don’t seem capable of getting outside their little protected boxes. I love how some people walk out and demand their money back on anything that shakes them in a way thats threatening their neat little world. Are they really that sheltered? It’s depressing. Oh, and I definitely think MMc is totally deserving. His work this year has been beyond the pale in several things as was his work in Magic Mike and especially Killer Joe which has one of the most daring performances I’ve ever seen from him or any other actor. Redford would have been completely deserving in a different world. I respect Dern but wouldn’t hand him the award this year. Too much terrific work that should be rewarded instead, including 12 Years a Slave’s E.C., which should probably win — that would be sweet. Bale has an award for a great piece of work already. I suspect he’ll be nominated again.

  • This is great!

    I loved this, speaking of the controversy:

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