In just six months, Leonardo DiCaprio has invented a new brand of book: the honest novel. Fact is now fiction, except when it’s not. On the red carpet Sunday at the Academy Awards, DiCaprio described his obsession with a novel called “The Wolf of Wall Street,” the book on which the Oscar-nominated film is based.
That book is a memoir, one former Wall Street trader Jordan Belfort wrote about the financial malfeasance, philandering and excessive drug use that defined his own life. Those who have read the book note the film is a faithful adaptation, though with some of the narrative flourishes that any movie would take.
DiCaprio’s evolving definition of Belfort’s own story is born out of necessity. It is a response to the backlash the movie incurred upon its arrival in theaters. As viewers began to watch DiCaprio’s impersonation of Belfort – in particular his unbridled greed and aggressive use of cocaine in savory places – they began to complain about the message this movie spread.
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It encourages greed. It encourages womanizing. And so on.
So DiCaprio, co-star Jonah Hill and others began to explain the movie was not condoning this behavior. It was just offering a glimpse into a world of debauchery and impropriety, a lesson in an age where Wall Street has fallen out of favor. It is a fictionalized account of what happened, just one way of telling a story told by so many others.
Now DiCaprio wants to extend that fiction label to the book. There’s just one problem. Here is what DiCaprio said about the book last August:
“What separates Jordan’s story from others is the brutal honesty with which he talks about the mistakes he’s made in his life.”
There you have it, “The Wolf of Wall Street” is an honest novel. Maybe that’s what “A Million Little Pieces” is too.