Leonardo DiCaprio Is Ok With Acting Like a Jerk

Jan 12, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
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Wolf Of Wall Street Leonard DiCaprio

If buzz means anything, and, of course, it’s everything for a new movie, then the Wolf of Wall Street is in for a strong role. At the center of the excitement over this version of a “Greed is Good!” flick, DiCaprio plays the hedonistic Jordan Belfort, out doing even Gordon Gecko as a character you love to hate.

As one of Hollywood’s most prolific and respected actors, DiCaprio has earned attention for his ability to play characters that leave something – or a lot – to be desired in the character department. Many sat up and noted how he had perfected this specialty when he played Roger Ferris as a brutal, mission-oriented CIA officer in 2008s Body of Lies. Although he shows some redeeming features, his touch and rough language seemed to come from the heart.

This role seems a natural progression from his Danny Archer character in 2006’s Blood Diamond. Playing a mercenary, DiCaprio’s character seems willing to do or say anything to find the mythical pink diamond at the center of the story’s plot. While the Belfort character wants to wring money out of every grandmother in America, Archer could care less about the inhuman conditions of the mine workers or how the proceeds of the sale of the diamonds are used.

Of course, to many, DiCaprio hits the zenith of despicable when he played the hateful Calvin Candie, plantation owner extraordinaire, in Django Unchained. It seems one reason Leonardo is so adept at playing the ass is his ability to incorporate profanity and vulgarity into his delivery so believably. Not only does he seem obsessed by the n-word, he uses every common vulgarity with a simple fluidity. His actions in this movie took his distastefulness to new highs, as well. From whipping female slaves and making them strip in public to pounding on them with a gavel, he exhibits a convincing facility with violence.  The reviewers delight in pointing out that the only redeeming quality in this character is getting shot.

Those who remember the masterful innocence of DiCaprio as Johnny Depp’s brother in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape are all the more struck by this contrast between the lovable and the hateable sides of the actor. The best mix of these two sides was probably seen in Catch Me if You Can, with the con man even faking out even the FBI agent played by Tom Hanks.

Aficionados of the acting world will tell you that the true actor is the one who can make you hate the character they portray. While you wouldn’t expect this of such a true gentleman as Leonardo, he has achieved this distinction in numerous films, including more than a dozen more than those discussed above. It turns out that if he wins his potential Oscar, it will be awarded more to the jerk Belfort than the real DiCaprio.

If buzz means anything, and, of course, it’s everything for a new movie, then the Wolf of Wall Street is in for a strong role. At the center of the excitement over this version of a “Greed is Good!” flick, DiCaprio plays the hedonistic Jordan Belfort, out doing even Gordon Gecko as a character you love to hate.