Jonah Hill is opening up about his dislike for his character, Donnie Azoff, in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street.
Although he had to attend his first audition in six years to convince Scorsese that he was right for the role, with star Leonardo DiCaprio’s support, Hill told Yahoo Movies that he struggled to find any redeeming qualities in Donnie.
“They say you’re not supposed to judge the character at all and I tried my hardest, but I couldn’t really find that much I really liked about Donnie,” he said. “I just didn’t like the way that Donnie treated people, that was the thing I had the hardest time with.”
The 30-year-old Los Angeles native said he also wrestled with one particularly difficult scene.
“There’s a scene with a goldfish where I throw a lit cigarette at this kid and make him cry and fire him and eat his goldfish and it’s really degrading,” he said. “On the way home I would just be like, ‘Oh gosh, what did I do today?’ I would feel bad.”
Although he said most of the movie was inaccurate, real-life co-founder and ex-president of Stratton Oakmont Danny Porush, on whom Jonah Hill’s character is based, confessed that the incident with the goldfish really did happen.
“I said to one of the brokers, ‘If you don’t do more business, I’m gonna eat your goldfish,’” he said. “So I did.”
Porush also said that he never taped money to a woman’s body, and that he didn’t participate in a threesome with Jordan Belfort and a 17-year-old “wildly promiscuous” female employee, as Belfort wrote in the memoir on which the film is based.
“I’m not homophobic, but I never had sex with a girl with another guy,” Porush said. “I’ve been with a zillion women, several women at the same time—but only just with women…Also, never any minors.”
A representative for Belfort said he stands by the story, but understood why Porush would deny it.
The Wolf of Wall Street narrowly avoided a dreaded NC-17 rating after Martin Scorsese agreed to cut several scenes with sex nudity. The edit brought the film down to a 179 minute running time, making it Scorsese’s longest film by one minute (Casino clocked in at 178 minutes). The film also broke a record for the number of f-bombs with 506 uses. The record was previously held by Spike Lee’s Summer of Sam with 435 uses.