The Wolf Of Wall Street | 2012
Just as with Goodfellas, some critics got upset that Martin Scorsese’s energetic account of the so-unlikely-that-it-must-be-true career of money-magnet Jordan Belfort doesn’t wind up with a finger-wagging homily on just desserts.
The film hits the ground running, almost literally, as the whacked-out Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) at the height of his drug fuelled success, attempts to land a helicopter in the grounds of his Long Island home.
At the time, Belfort’s house was 5 Pin Oak Court, off Chicken Valley Road in Old Brookville near to Glen Cove, but the film uses a more screen friendly mock-Tudor estate at 39 Chestnut Hill Drive, still off the bucolic-sounding Chicken Valley Road but a little to the east towards Oyster Bay. Despite what some online maps seem to show, it’s east of the northern end of Chestnut Hill Drive.
Flashing back to Belfort’s beginnings, he’s seen arriving in the city, alongside the New York Stock Exchange with its vast Stars and Stripes on Nassau Street (actually just off Wall Street), to take up his first ‘pond scum’ job with LF Rothschild.
Eager but naïve, Belfort’s potential is nevertheless spotted by chest-beating alpha-boss Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey), who takes him for an eye-opener of a liquid lunch at Top Of The Sixes, 666 Fifth Avenue, the block which did in fact house the Rothschild banking business.
He moves up to his first job as a licensed broker at the Equitable Building, 120 Broadway, just in time for 1987’s catastrophic Black Monday and immediate joblessness.
Unfazed, he takes his skills to a tiny company selling penny shares. His dubious methods bring results and soon he’s approached by Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) in a local diner, who’s keen to hitch himself to the rising star. It’s called ‘Kacandes Diner’ in the film, but that’s a bit of an in-joke (longtime Scorsese collaborator Georgia Kacandes is the film’s Production Manager). It’s the Shalimar Diner, 6368 Austin Street at 63rd Drive, Rego Park, near Forest Hills in Queens (that’s only about mile north of Aunt May’s house in Spider-Man).
‘Frank’s Best Auto Body’, the rundown property they hire to launch their new company is the old Ardsley Fire Department building standing at 701 Saw Mill River Road, between Ashford Avenue and Center Street, Ardsley, up towards White Plains in New York State.
The business, of course, booms – unwittingly helped by the notorious Forbes magazine hatchet job, which labels him the Wolf, but has get-rich-quick kids queuing up to work for his company.
About five miles southeast of Ardsley, the gleaming glass office of Stratton Oakmont, the third and swishest HQ of his company, is 500 Mamaroneck Avenue in Harrison, Westchester County.
The beachfront home with its pool parties, ‘ludes and some wildly inappropriate behaviour from Donnie, is on Hoffstot Lane (just north of the end of Vanderbilt Lane) on the north coast of Sands Point, on Long Island. You might not realise how much CGI there is in the film. Although the house is real, it stands alone – the neighbouring homes are added digitally.
Belfort begins his spiral out of control, snorting coke from the breasts of Naomi (Margot Robbie) in a limo, until he’s caught out by his wife Teresa (Cristin Milioti) and dragged from the car in front of Trump Tower, 725 Fifth Avenue (getting a lot of screen time these days – remember it in The Dark Knight Rises?).
Time for divorce, and Naomi moves in. Belfort’s hi-rise apartment, where the butler finds himself dangled from the balcony after being suspected of stealing money, is the Penthouse on the 32nd floor of the Milan Condominium, 300 East 55th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues, Midtown East. Regularly featured in TV’s Gossip Girl, it could have been yours when it was recently put up for sale at $6.5 million.
Belfort goes on to propose to Naomi in the Pool Room of the old Four Seasons Restaurant, 99 East 52nd Street between Madison and Park Avenues. The hotel’s restaurant, previously featured in Spike Lee’s 2006 Inside Man, has since closed and has relocated to 280 Park Avenue.
The stag party at ‘Las Vegas’ was filmed in the studio, and the beach wedding is not the ‘Malliouhana Hotel’, at Anguilla in ‘The Bahamas’, but at The Crescent Beach Club, 333 Bayville Avenue in Bayville, north of Oyster Bay, Long Island.
As Belfort gets wind that the FBI is looking into his business methods, he meets up for urgent discussions with private investigator Bo Dietl in Rao’s Restaurant, 455 East 114th Street, at Pleasant Avenue in East Harlem, a Southern Italian restaurant founded in 1896, and not to be confused with its sister restaurant in Las Vegas.
Needing to spirit money to Switzerland, Belfort contacts the understanding Aunt Emma (Joanna Lumley). Although there are brief shots of the South Bank Lion by the South Bank’s County Hall and of Westminster Bridge in London, the meeting with Emma was filmed in the US with Kensington Gardens and the extravagant gilt Albert Memorial added digitally. Even the brief shot of Emma’s London house is CGI.
The shopping mall where Brad gets arrested with a caseful of cash after a stupid spat with Donnie is Closter Plaza, 71 Vervalen Street in Closter, across the Hudson in New Jersey.
Belfort gets a warning phone call telling him to leave home. As he returns the call from a public phone, those out of date Lemmon ’ludes suddenly kick in. The ‘Brookville Country Club’, where he manages to reach his car after losing control of his limbs, is Willow Ridge Country Club, 123 North Street, about a mile east of the glitzy ‘Stratton Oakmont’ HQ in Harrison, New York State.
It’s clearly time to cut a deal. The country estate with horses where he discusses his options with his attorney Manny Riskin (Jon Favreau) is Mill Hill Farm, a private horse farm in Wainscott on Long Island.
There’s plenty more CGI for Belfort’s ill-fated journey to Europe. The upper deck of the Naomi was built on a soundstage at Kaufman Astoria Studios, while the live-action shots of the storm at sea were filmed in the parking lot of Steiner Studios in Brooklyn.
Once back in New York, Belfort is inevitably arrested, awkwardly in the middle of recording his Straight Line TV commercial on the West 30th Street Heliport, West 30th Street at 12th Avenue/Hudson River Greenway, Chelsea.
If you feel the 22 months he served in prison was hardly the comeuppance he deserved for the amount of distress caused to his victims (particularly the poorer ones shelling out for penny shares), well, that’s hardly the fault of the film director.