Leonardo DiCaprio ordered to testify in ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ lawsuit
Leonardo DiCaprio must testify in court after a man filed a defamation lawsuit against 2013 movie The Wolf of Wall Street, a judge ruled. Lawyer and investment banker Andrew Greene claims the movie defamed him.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven Locke ruled Thursday that the actor can be deposed in a lawsuit brought by Greene against Paramount Pictures Corp. and others in 2014.
Greene is seeking $25 million, contending that the portrayal of a character who engaged in illegal and morally questionable acts in the 2013 film defames him. The character, Nicky “Rugrat” Koskof, is close friends in the movie with Jordan Belfort, a notorious stock swindler who cost investors tens of millions of dollars in the 1990s. Belfort is played by DiCaprio.
Paramount says the Koskof character is a fictional composite.
“No reasonable fact finder could claim that ‘Nicky’ was a recognizable likeness of Andrew Greene,” Paramount’s lawyers wrote in court papers.
Lawyers for DiCaprio opposed the idea of his deposition, saying DiCaprio did not write the screenplay or direct the film. They noted that Greene’s lawsuit did not allege that DiCaprio provided defamatory content for the film or helped decide whether to include defamatory content.
At a minimum, they argued, Greene should have to explain why he thinks DiCaprio has specific or unique knowledge about the issues raised in the lawsuit.
Lawyers for Greene said that DiCaprio’s account is necessary because the actor met with director and producer Martin Scorsese and screenwriter Terence Winter in the script development process to discuss scenes, revisions and the movie’s production.
They also noted that Greene’s lawyers have not sought to depose actor P.J. Byrne, who played Koskof and is seen in the movie using cocaine, sexually engaged with a prostitute and shaving a woman’s head.
Greene’s lawsuit says the movie portrayed him as “a criminal and drug user with misogynistic tendencies.”
The Wolf of Wall Street was nominated for five Academy Awards, including best picture and best director for Martin Scorsese.
Scorsese has already been deposed. DiCaprio has no comment on the lawsuit or the order to testify.
With files from The Associated PressFollow @CJancelewicz
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