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The controversial figure whose memoir formed the basis of Leonardo DiCaprio's unhinged stockbroker in Martin Scorsese's Oscar-nominated black comedy The Wolf of Wall Street has revealed his debauched life of sex and drugs was "even worse" than shown in the film. Jordan Belfort made the admission in a candid interview with the Hollywood Reporter days before this year's Oscars ceremony, where Scorsese's controversial film is up for five prizes. The year-old, who served 22 months in jail for securities fraud between and after setting up the discredited Stratton Oakmont brokerage and penny stock "boiler room" in Long Island, said Terence Winter's screenplay had not needed to exaggerate his outrageous existence.
Although I'd say I did more quaaludes than cocaine. Scorsese's film includes a number of scenes in which Belfort and his cronies imbibe quaaludes, a long-banned sedative with apparent devastating consequences if taken in high doses.
The Wolf of Wall Street has been criticised by disability-rights groups for a scene in which DiCaprio reaches "cerebral palsy stage" while under the influence of the drug. Belfort admits in the interview that this might be his fault. However, the former broker, who now works as a motivational speaker, said a scene at the end of the film where Belfort attacks his wife is fictionalised.
I was out of my mind. I was at the lowest point of my life. I'm not trying to minimise it; it was awful what I did. But it was under the [influence] of massive quantities of drugs. Belfort has found himself at the centre of a high-profile awards season conversation over whether The Wolf of Wall Street deserves Oscars recognition.
The daughter of a man linked to the discredited financial schemes depicted in the film has attacked Scorsese and DiCaprio for glamorising a lifestyle of "fun sexcapades and coke binges". The director and star also found themselves heckled at an Academy screening last year, and producers have faced criticism from an animal-rights group calling for a boycott over the use of a live chimp in one of the film's scenes of Wall Street excess. DiCaprio, who will be hoping to take his first Oscar on Sunday night, has defended the film as a "cautionary tale".