In his decades of directing, Martin Scorsese has shown how he manages to get the best performances out of his actors. While some films include acting legends like Robert De Niro in Casino, other films may include less seasoned actors — at least during the time of filming — like Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver from the movie Silence, but no matter the story or actor, each name on the credits give it their all, so how do some of these names get cast in a film with a director like Scorsese? In seeing who has been in his movies, no story about the casting process is the same, but Margot Robbie’s audition for The Wolf of Wall Street proves that everyone misses 100 percent of the shots they don’t take, even if it ends awkwardly.
The Wolf of Wall Street chronicles the life of real-life stockbroker Jordan Belfort. Played by Leonardo DiCaprio, the actor brings to life the character’s ups and downs as he makes a small fortune through fraud, scamming and manipulating the stock market. In that time, he also meets and marries a woman named Naomi Lapaglia and starts a family during his self-destructive lifestyle. Embodying the role was then up-and-comer Margot Robbie, who is now best known for her role as Harley Quinn. However, it’s revealed on an Australian news site that Robbie got the part due to a split-second decision that left the audition room speechless.
According to the article, Robbie’s career before the film had her starring in an Australian series titled Neighbours. However, 2013 landed her the audition of a lifetime where she worked alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese. There was undoubtedly immense pressure not to fumble the audition as it could be the most significant moment of her career. However, everything changed once she entered the screen test and started reading her lines opposite DiCaprio.
The scene was meant to be an argument where DiCaprio mentions how she should be lucky to be with him, demanding a kiss. Robbie then notes what it was like working with the actor stating, “And so I start screaming at him (DiCaprio), and he’s yelling back at me, and he’s really scary. I can barely keep up…” According to the script, Robbie’s character was supposed to kiss DiCaprio, closing the scene. However, Robbie knew this would be her one chance to make her mark on this audition. With nothing left to lose, she explains, “…another part of my brain clicks, and I just go, ‘Whack!’ I hit him in the face, and then I scream, ‘F**k you!’ And that’s not in the script at all. The room just went dead silent and I froze.”
Although the moment was awkward, it’s actually the slap heard ’round Hollywood, as the last-minute decision ultimately earned her the part. Even Scorsese was left shaken by the bravery of Robbie, stating, “[It was] an improvisation that stunned us all.” Since then, she has continued to give her all in every performance, whether it be an action, drama or comedy, but the story also represents an important life lesson.
Sometimes without risks, life becomes dull. However, by taking chances, there are moments where a person can surprise themselves and others. Robbie’s choice to go off script serves as a perfect example of this. Of course, the future isn’t set in stone, but Robbie’s audition and life itself prove that sometimes the most unexpected choices can yield the biggest rewards.