Leonardo DiCaprio Attacked in Defamation Lawsuit for Not Doing Enough Character Research
In his legal action over ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ former Stratton Oakmont executive Andrew Greene submits depositions from DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese and screenwriter Terence Winter.
This is a legally hazardous time for movies and television shows that are loosely based on true events. Several lawsuits concerning fictionalized history are in the advanced stages with forthcoming decisions primed to articulate First Amendment principles and possibly set boundaries for filmmakers.
One case concerns The Wolf of Wall Street, the Oscar-nominated 2013 film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as convicted stockbroker Jordan Belfort. The production companies associated with the movie — including Paramount Pictures, Red Granite Pictures, Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions and DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions — are being sued by Andrew Greene, who in the mid-1990s was general counsel at Belfort’s former firm Stratton Oakmont.
Greene contends in his lawsuit that he was the basis for the character of Nicky “Rugrat” Koskoff and was “portrayed as a criminal, drug user, degenerate, depraved, and/or devoid of any morality or ethics.”
In October 2015, U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert rejected Greene’s privacy claim, but allowed the defamation claim to survive with the note that Greene would have some work to do in order to eventually prevail in the case. Specifically, Greene would have to establish that the producers were grossly negligent when it came to whatever was false about Koskoff in the movie.