The Wolf of Wall Street may just have the best ensemble cast of 2013. It’s filled with a wide array of characters that are likable, disgusting, amoral, sexy, hard working, revolting, and hilarious. The sad thing is they’re all based on real people.
And since Martin Scorsese’s film is based on events from the late ’80s into the ’90s, it took place during the home video revolution, which means there’s actually quite a bit of footage of the real people behind this depressing story. We’ve rounded up some of the more amusing footage we could find, which helps give some real-life context for the seemingly normal people whose moral compasses spun wildly out of control the more money they made. It’s also fascinating because it means that we get to become retroactive voyeurs looking into the private lives of people who, at the time, didn’t really mean anything to the public at large, though they certainly do now.
The Duchess of Bay Ridge
In the film Belfort’s second wife is Naomi, played by the gorgeous Margot Robbie (who many may be surprised to learn is actually Australian). In real life her name was actually Nadine, and this first clip shows Jordan’s dad, Max (played by Rob Reiner in the film), fawning over her at one of the many Stratton Oakmont company parties. Of particular interest here is how even in just 30 seconds we see how Belfort and his bride were treated like royalty, even by their own family.
You may remember from the film how prideful Jordan is when mentioning that Naomi was a model from a Miller Lite commercial. Well, here’s two versions of that ad, each with her in a different outfit. She’s not in either for very long, but if you were a young man in the ’90s, it’s easy to see how this ad would make an impression.
And here’s what she looks like these days, remarried to the CEO of Wizard World, Inc.
In a film filled with minor side characters, Richard “Bo” Dietl, the head of Jordan’s security team, might actually be one of the more minor figures (his most memorable scene is his phone conversation with Jordan when he tells him to not talk on the phone), but he represents an amusing intersection of the real story and the film version: He’s the only actor in The Wolf of Wall Street playing himself.
As the movie mentions, Dietl was a former detective in the NYPD before he went private, but what the film doesn’t mention is that he briefly had his own career as an actor. He’s in Goodfellas as the agent who arrests Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), and even plays a character called Detective Bo in Abel Ferrara’s scummy classic Bad Lieutenant, which was very, very loosely based on a case Dietl investigated in the early ’80s. His life story was also turned into the movie One Tough Cop, starring none other than Stephen Baldwin. Here’s the trailer for that forgotten gem:
FBI Agent Patrick Denham
One of the most powerful scenes in the film is the final shot of steadfast FBI Agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler) taking a thankless ride home on the subway after having finally arrested Jordan Belfort. The real FBI agent was named Gregory Coleman, and true to his character in the film, he has led a rather uncelebrated life, at least as far as the public eye is concerned. He didn’t write any books about the case, and he hasn’t tried to spin it into any kind of celebrity status. He was just an honest man doing his job, and you can see him at the 1:30 mark in the below video.
Then of course there’s Jordan Belfort, the wolf himself. If you search YouTube you can find countless videos of Belfort giving speeches and lectures about how to sell people, but we think the most fitting video is the below one, which does an unintentionally excellent job of showing how he’s become the kind of person you see on infomercials at 1am.
And if you’re wondering what happened to Beflort’s kids, you can see them very briefly at the 4:47 mark below, where his now teenaged-daughter laughs at the idea of the hunk from Titanic playing her dad.
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