While Leonardo DiCaprio famously didn’t get an Oscar for his role as a character depicted in the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street, the actor and the movie have drawn anger from a real Wall Street exec. Now DiCaprio has been deposed in the libel lawsuit.
In the film, DiCaprio, 41, played the role of Jordan Belfort, a stock swindler who founded the company Stratton Oakmont, and whose memoir was the basis of the 2013 film.
According to Entertainment Weekly, actor P.J. Byrne played the role of a morally and ethically challenged character named Nicky “Rugrat” Koskoff, who wore a toupee in the film and was the subject of The Wolf of Wall Street movie line, “Swear to God, I want to choke him to death.”
The character was portrayed as “a criminal and drug user with misogynistic tendencies,” and in the film, Koskoff engaged in several illegal and unethical acts and used cocaine. The character also had sexual relations with a prostitute.
Leonardo DiCaprio may be questioned over a defamation case regarding The Wolf Of Wall Street https://t.co/aPaPUqkvox
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 18, 2016
It is the latter character in the film which led to the lawsuit being launched. Among the defendants in the libel suit are Paramount Pictures, Red Granite Pictures, DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions and Sikelia Productions.
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The plaintiff is Andrew Greene, who sued in 2014 for more than $50 million, claiming the character of Koskoff in the film was based on him, which both defamed and insulted him. According to Greene, the movie changed his actual nickname “Wigwam” to “Rugrat.”
Greene is, reportedly, a childhood friend of Belfort, the character played by Leonardo, and worked at Stratton Oakmont from 1993 to 1996.
According to Paramount Pictures Corp., one of the defendants in the suit, Koskoff was, in fact, a “composite character” drawn from several Wall Street individuals, including Greene.
At a hearing Thursday, U.S. magistrate judge Steven Locke granted a motion by Greene to compel a deposition from DiCaprio.
However, defense lawyers are saying that while his production company was involved in the film, DiCaprio himself didn’t write the screenplay. There is also no claim he had any role in deciding which alleged defamatory content should be included in, or excluded from, the movie The Wolf of Wall Street.
Leonardo DiCaprio compelled to testify in court over The Wolf of Wall Street https://t.co/SABbLujaTF
— Jose Reyes (@NYY001) June 18, 2016
According to a report by the Hollywood Reporter, Locke was told that efforts to question DiCaprio had “earmarks of the intentional infliction of burden” and Greene’s lawyers wanted “to coerce an outcome that is not based upon the merits of the case.”
Apparently back in October last year, a judge dismissed several claims in the lawsuit, including an asserted privacy inclusion, but still give Greene a certain amount of leverage to move forward with a lawsuit claiming that the various defendants maliciously spread untruths about him.
Reportedly it is unknown when DiCaprio will be questioned in the lawsuit, but according to Greene’s lawyers, they have already questioned Martin Scorsese and the screenwriter of the film, Terence Winter. Both reportedly testified they had met regularly with DiCaprio to discuss the script of the film.
The 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Leonardo DiCaprio as best actor, Scorsese as best director and Winter for the screenplay but did not win in any category.
[Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images]