Martin Scorsese’s 2013 crime comedy The Wolf of Wall Street was unquestionably one of the best films of the decade, documenting the hyper-capitalist excesses of the American financial sector in hilarious ways. Based on Jordan Belfort’s memoir, Scorsese showed just how asinine the machinations of Wall Street are and that the 2008 collapse of the economy was practically inevitable.
Although many believed that Leonardo DiCaprio should have gotten the Academy Award for his brilliant portrayal of Belfort in the film, others cited Margot Robbie’s stint as Belfort’s wife while naming the breakthrough performances of the year. She had appeared in smaller projects before but her involvement in this Scorsese film propelled her towards further stardom.
As is normal, the actress claimed that she was intensely nervous before she came into the audition. According to one interview, she claimed that the casting director Ellen Lewis immediately sent her out to get new clothes that would be more appropriate for the role of Naomi. This naturally put her off but she returned to the audition only to blow everyone away.
For the enactment of one particular scene where Robbie and DiCaprio were supposed to fight, the actress did not hold back and slapped DiCaprio right across his face. She later said: “I’m thinking, you just hit Leonardo DiCaprio in the face. They’re going to arrest you because that’s assault. You’re definitely never going to work again, that’s for sure. They’ll probably sue you as well in case there’s a bruise on his face and he needs to film something else.”
However, everyone involved loved it and she got the part. Robbie recalled: “Marty says, ‘That was great!’ Leo’s like, ‘Hit me again!’”. Scorsese confirmed this story by admitting: “Margot has all this in addition to a unique audacity that surprises and challenges and just burns like a brand into every character she plays. She clinched her part in The Wolf of Wall Street during our first meeting—by hauling off and giving Leonardo DiCaprio a thunderclap of a slap on the face, an improvisation that stunned us all.”