Martin Scorsese once revealed that his experience of taking Quaaludes at least partially inspired the scene in The Wolf of Wall Street in which Leonardo DiCaprio freaks out after taking the drug. Here's the real Wolf of Wall Street's wife talking about how accurate the film truly was:
Of course, The Wolf of Wall Street is based on a true story, that of investment banker and all-around hyper-capitalist Jordan Belfort, but it turns out that Scorsese knew a thing or two about the drugs that they were taking too.
In case you’re not aware, Quaaludes are a type of drug that is a hypnotic sedative, which became very popular during the 1960s and 1970s, continuing through to the time that the film is set.
Obviously, they’re very illegal if not prescribed, and they’re rarely prescribed.
However, Scorsese managed to get his hands on a prescription back in the day due to his fear of flying, which is how he knows what people react like when they’ve taken them.
He revealed the truth of the matter in an 2014 interview with talk show host Conan O’Brien, claiming that they had an expert on the set of The Wolf of Wall Street to help coax the bizarre performance out of Leo.
You know the scene we’re talking about, right?
It’s the one where Leo is staggering and floundering about trying to get to his car, elaborately crawling along the floor in a drug-induced stupor.
To be fair to him, he acted it very well and was quite unlucky not to get an Oscar for just that scene alone.
Anyway, speaking to Conan all those years ago, Scorsese said: “Yes, I can’t say who the expert is but I could put a few words in there myself,
"Thirty-five years ago they were legal and I was prescribed a Quaalude for fear of flying. When you took that pill, you didn’t care where you were.”
Helpful, if you’re afraid of flying, for sure.
The Goodfellas director added: "It wound down by the time you landed, thankfully, because you wanted to hug everybody and you were crying.”
Catching himself on, he quickly added: “I’m not kidding – but don’t do it kids.”
Sound advice, not least because they’re illegal in most parts of the world.
Quaaludes feature heavily in The Wolf of Wall Street, with Belfort admitting that he would take 'four' pills in the morning before his wife woke up.
The film was criticised when it came out because some thought it glamourised the misogynistic, horrible capitalist world that Belfort existed in during the years before he was found out and sent to prison.
However, Scorsese argued that his film ‘just scratches the surface of what went on’ and DiCaprio has described his character as ‘hedonistic’ and ‘very representative of our times’.
It’s certainly that.
Featured Image Credit: Album / Alamy Stock Photo Paramount Pictures