A federal judge ordered recent Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio to testify in the $15 million The Wolf of Wall Street lawsuit. A former executive at the now-defunct brokerage house Stratton Oakmont filed a defamation case over his alleged representation in the 2013 film.
On Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven Locke said that the actor should make himself available for questioning. DiCaprio's Appian Way Productions, Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures as well as the other defendants in the defamation case opposed the order.
The defense lawyers opposed by saying that DiCaprio didn't write the film's screenplay. They stressed the lack of the claim that the actor had anything to do with the decision whether the supposed defamation should be part of the film or not.
In response, the plaintiff's lawyers said the film's screenwriter Terence Winter and director Martin Scorsese were already questioned. Both testified to the regular meetings with DiCaprio to discuss the movie's script.
The judge's order did not include the date when DiCaprio will be called to testify.
In the 2013 film, actor P.J. Byrne played the fictional character Nicky "Rugrat" Koskoff who wears a toupee in the film. In 2014, a real former Stratton Oakmont executive Andrew Greene claimed that he was defamed through Bryne's portrayal of Koskoff and sued for over $50 million.
Paramount explained that the "composite character" of Koskoff was inspired by various individuals, one of which was Greene. The plaintiff claimed that Bryne's portrayal of Koskoff mocked his hairpiece repetitively and depicted the character as a drug user.
"The motion picture's scenes concerning Mr. Greene were false, defamatory, and fundamentally injurious to Mr. Greene's professional reputation, both as an attorney and as an investment banker/venture capitalist, as well as his personal reputation," the lawsuit said.
Greene claimed that the movie made defamatory statements by portraying him as "criminal and drug user with misogynistic tendencies." In the film, the fictional character Koskoff does cocaine in the office, had sex with a prostitute and helps fraudulent stockbroker Jordan Belfort in his money laundering schemes. Greene said that all these could damage his reputation.
DiCaprio played the lead character Jordan Belfort. Greene and Belfort were childhood friends, and the former's 2007 memoir was used as the basis for the 2013 film.
While The Wolf Of Wall Street was nominated for five Academy Awards, the film did not go home with any awards. Scorsese was nominated for best director, Winter for best screenplay and DiCaprio for best actor.