Filmmaking is by its very nature the process of manufacturing illusions, but rarely has there been such a marked contrast between the wild energy of a finished movie and the unremarkably sedate nature of its making. One of the big entertainment stories of 2013 was the unexpected furor created by Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street", the work of a 71-year-old director that was defined by the unadulterated bacchanalian excess of someone half his age (which opens an even larger can of worms about how petrified our concepts of who should be making what type of films have become).
Yesterday we got a neat look at the amazingly subtle special effects in the film, and now a new 11-minute behind-the-scenes clip has surfaced to remind everyone that the production of "The Wolf of Wall Street" wasn't too dissimilar from that of every other film – there wasn't any dark sorcery at work here, calculated and controlled by the devil to send outraged Academy members screaming out of the theater. There was just one of the greatest living American filmmakers going about his business, the ringmaster of an $100 million dollar circus. There was Leonardo DiCaprio palling around with actors who were probably only needed on set for a day or two. There was Jonah Hill, so obviously giddy to be working with his heroes.
Of course, the video below [brought to our attention by The Seventh Art] offers a neat look at how Scorsese handles his downtime, how he nudges his actors into the performances he wants, and how relaxed and in control of the whole mess he can be. Moreover, footage from the film's Hamptons party scene gives us a hint at some of the material that didn't make it into the final cut, and adds credence to the idea that the mythical 4-hour version of the movie was just slightly extended here and there, but fundamentally the same beast.