Arte is broadcasting Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece this Sunday evening. DiCaprio is astonishing in the role of a drug trader. Analysis of an indescribable sequence during which his character is under the influence of a stunning sedative.
Published on February 11, 2024 at 8:00 p.m.
Dyears The wolf of Wall Street (2013), rebroadcast this Sunday evening on Arte, Leonardo DiCaprio delivers the craziest performance in his filmography. Whether he hits his chest in unison with Matthew McConaughey in a brilliantly improvised scene, insults Margot Robbie or harangues his troops in a speech of boundless vulgarity, the former romantic hunk of Titanic pushes the sliders of ignominy and grotesqueness to a level rarely reached. The highlight of the show? The so-called “Lemmon Quaaludes” sequence, where his character as an unscrupulous drug trader, victim of a devastating long-term effect of this stupefying sedative in every sense of the word, finds himself temporarily deprived of the use of speech and his legs. Jordan Belfort, forced to urgently return home, must then crawl like a disabled slug on the ground then, through contortions worthy of Peking opera, try to get into his Lamborghini.
Martin Scorsese, encouraged by his star, conceived this great moment of burlesque as a parody of a famous scene from Freed (1992) where Ray Liotta, with cocaine in his nostrils, tries while driving his car to hide weapons, carry out a drug sale and… supervise by telephone the cooking of his Bolognese sauce while he is under surveillance from an FBI helicopter. To interpret the financier reduced to the state of a vegetable, DiCaprio assures that he did not consume anything illegal: he found his inspiration in a video which, in 2009, became all the rage on YouTube, under the title “Drunkest Guy in the World” (“the drunkest man in the world”).
In these images captured by video surveillance cameras, a guy close to an alcoholic coma begins to buy a beer in a convenience store. “A lot of the research I did really came from watching this video on loop, assured the actor during a meeting with the public at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2014. It’s a man trying to get a beer, but his body doesn’t quite want to […]. His motivation was truly intriguing. He had one goal, to go out with a beer from 7-Eleven, and it took him half an hour! »
In addition to the interpretation of the Hollywood star, the power of the Quaaludes stage also owes a lot to the staging choices. Thelma Schoonmaker, the director’s faithful editor, explained this during a retrospective of Scorsese’s films with DiCaprio organized in 2014 at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York. “Marty felt that the last part of the sequence, when Leo drags himself into his car and gets stuck in the door, needed to be shot in a wide shot. When I saw the rushes, I asked him: “Don’t you want to do a close-up of it?”, and he replied: “No, no, no, the whole spirit of the scene is in this Large plan. It’s my favorite shot in the film, I want to keep it.” And he was right. »
The scene that has become cult, however, made a collateral victim: the sports (and luxury) car massacred by Jordan Belfort-Leonardo DiCaprio during the chaotic return to his mansion. Two examples of this Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition produced in 1989 were used during filming: one emerged unscathed, the other was smashed in from all sides for the sake of the realism dear to Scorsese. Ten years after the release of Wolf of Wall Street, the two cars were put up for auction. On December 8, 2023, the model in perfect condition (with 23,868 kilometers on the clock) went to Sotheby’s in New York for the modest sum of 1.665 million dollars (1.55 million euros). Fifteen days earlier, on the other hand, the damaged “supercar”, which remained “in the same condition to this day, cementing his own place as a Hollywood icon with his infamous battle scars”, to use the high-sounding terms of Sotheby’s, did not find a buyer during the sale organized on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix. It is true that at $1.4 million, the floor price demanded by the seller, the pile of scrap metal is expensive, even if it is “iconic”.
s The wolf of Wall Street, by Martin Scorsese (United States, 2013, 2h50). Sunday February 11 at 9 p.m. on Arte.