When I arrived at Taft, they lost my paperwork, so I spent five days in solitary. It was brutal, absolutely brutal. But it was minimum security, and after solitary it was like a boys’ club — and who’s my bunkmate? Tommy Chong from Cheech & Chong. I couldn’t believe it. He was in the process of writing his book. We used to tell each other stories at night, and I had him rolling hysterically on the floor. The third night he goes, “You’ve got to write a book.” So I started writing, and I knew it was bad. It was terrible. I was about to call it quits and then I went into the prison library and stumbled upon The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe, and I was like, “That’s how I want to write!” When you’re in jail, you have a lot of time to think about your mistakes. It was completely mellow. I played tennis three hours a day, and I’d write for maybe 12. [THR via BI]
The Wolf of Wall Street
Back in December, a movie called the Wolf of Wall Street was released on the big screen. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? It was based on a book by the same name, penned by a man named Jordan Belfort while he was doing time for ripping off thousands of people via his boiler room operation, Stratton Oakmont. And while Belfort himself has offered glowing reviews of the film and the lengths Leonardo DiCaprio went to really capture his hooker-banging, Quaalude-snort essence, one man is not as pleased.
Andrew Greene is suing Paramount Pictures and others associated with the film, arguing that he…was unfairly depicted as morally bankrupt by actor P.J. Byrne. “The motion picture contains various scenes wherein Mr. Greene’s character is portrayed as a criminal, drug user, degenerate and/or devoid of any morality or ethics,” the suit states. “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.” Greene’s lawyer, Aaron Goldsmith, said Greene was actually one of the few responsible workers at the now-infamous stock firm for which he and Belfort worked. “Andrew Greene worked diligently to create an environment of regulatory compliance and oversight at Stratton Oakmont,” said Goldsmith, who is handling Greene’s case with lawyer Stephanie Ovadia. “He was the driving force behind the implementation of several such procedures.”
Whether these procedures were successful or not is beside the point. Also beside the point are Greene’s complaints about being a degenerate. If Scorsese wanted to portray him as such for entertainment value, fine. That’s his prerogative as a filmmaker and really, what can be said about a man’s professional reputation that has not already been said by having the title “Chief Compliance Officer” and “Stratton Oakmont” on his resumé? But when Martin Scorsese made the decision to make a mockery of Greene’s toupée, in not one but several scenes, he went too far. Much too far. Read more »
Jonah Hill…says he took the role of Leonardo DiCaprio’s amoral sidekick Donnie Azoff for a measly $60,000 payday. “They gave me the lowest amount of money possible, that was their offer,” Hill said in a radio interview with Howard Stern on Tuesday. “And I said, ‘I will sign the paper tonight. Fax me the papers tonight. I want to sign them tonight before they change their mind.’” The amount, which is before commission and taxes, is the minimum allowed by the Screen Actors Guild according to Hill. It’s a sum dwarfed by the $10 million DiCaprio hauled in for his starring role as Jordan Belfort, according to the Huffington Post. DiCaprio also helped produce the film. Hill wasn’t worried about how much he’d make working on the film because he was desperate to work with revered filmmaker Martin Scorsese. “I would sell my house and give him all my money to work for him,” the “Money Ball” star told Stern. “This isn’t what you make money for. You do ‘22 Jump Street’ or you do other things, and you can pay your rent. I would’ve done anything in the world. I would do it again in a second.” [NYP]
In an interview last night with Piers Morgan, the ex-con said that while he initially felt bad about screwing over countless individuals, he’s since decided to move on. Shame’s not good for the bod, so Belfort has chosen to leave it behind. Instead, he’s been making things up to investors by talking a big game about paying back the money he stole, in addition to the untold weeks and months he spent ensuring Leonardo DiCaprio dotted all his i’s and crossed all his t’s in his depcition of Belfort’s coke binges and orgies.
Having written his autobiography five years ago, as what he describes as a “cathartic” experience, Belfort admitted that the early nineties offered a glimpse of him at his worst: “You picked probably the highlight of what I considered myself to be the most depraved year of my life,” he revealed. Though he’s traveling America sharing his cautionary tale, and using income earned from motivational speaking engagements to help repay his victims, Belfort noted that he’s yet to meet any of those that he personally impacted: “I have not … no one has sought me out,” he said. Morgan, though, pressed forward, suggesting that such a meeting ought be part of his penance: “Why haven’t you sought them out,” he asked. “Wouldn’t it be part of your self-redemption, to actually track some of these people down, we know some of their names, know what they’re saying about you, if you actually called them up and just said, ‘I actually would like to talk to you, I would like to apologize to you personally for what happened?’”
Insisting that his “action speaks louder than words,” Belfort maintained that financial retribution is the single most-valuable form of repayment he can offer: “What I’m doing here, by turning over 100 percent of the profits, is probably the most genuine thing I can do,” he said. “Honestly I feel terrible about what happened. You asked if I had shame: back then, yes. Now, no. I’m not going to live my life in shame. I think that’s a toxic emotion. I live with remorse, and that means I go out and do things actively to make up for the wrongs that I committed in the past.”
Also, he got a contact high from the fake cocaine use in the movie, or something. Read more »
Noted Ex-Con Praises Leonardo DiCaprio For Working Hard Enough To Capture His Quaalude-Snorting Essence, Win Award For ItBy Bess Levin
No. 2 At Noted Boiler Room Will Give You Sex With ‘A Zillion Women’ But Draws The Line At Male-Male-Female ThreesomesBy Bess Levin
All this week we’ve been hearing from people tangentially related to the “Wolf of Wall Street,” AKA Jordan Belfort, and his second in command, Danny Porush, whose boiler room scam is the subject of an upcoming Martin Scorsese film. One was Josh Shapiro, a young Long Island guy who couldn’t help but be seduced by the Quaaludes, cars, and hookers; another the ex-wife of Porush, who was surprised to hear her husband’s business was built on lies, and also that he was leaving her for another woman, who he’d knocked up around the time the Feds raided Stratton Oakmont.
Both attest to the degenerate way of doing things depicted in the movie (and book), which is said to include dwarf-tossing, chimpanzees, money taped to breasts, and threesomes as far as the eye can see. One guy not enthused about the portrayal of life at the firm? Danny Porush, who has held is tongue too long. Among his quibbles:
The claim that anyone sent out memo banning sex in the office during business hours. Was there enough of that going on to probably warrant such a memo? Sure. Did an official one ever go out? No.
- …while sex was nearly as integrated into office life as the scams that made the firm’s owners millions, Porush strongly denies a long-established piece of Stratton lore detailed in the book, and dramatized in the film adaptation: that brokers became so debauched that Belfort was forced to issue a memo declaring the office a “fuck-free zone” from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on workdays.
The suggestion that he is not a friend of animals. Did he once threaten to eat someone’s goldfish? Yes. Did he allow a chimpanzee to roam the office? No, and he’s downright offended at the mere notion.
- Porush doesn’t deny, as the book depicts, engaging in his fair share of unfettered hedonism, nor does he deny doing his share of drugs or indulging in rowdy antics. For example, movie goers will see Jonah Hill [dangling a goldfish over his mouth]. Porush says: true story. “I said to one of the brokers, ‘If you don’t do more business, I’m gonna eat your goldfish!’” Porush recalls. “So I did.” … “There was never a chimpanzee in the office,” Porush maintains. “There were no animals in the office…I would also never abuse an animal in any way.”
Continue this week’s series of first-person accounts by people who worked for or were screwed by Jordan Belfort and Danny Porush, whose story the upcoming Wolf of Wall Street is based on, today we hear from Porush’s ex-wife, Nancy. Read more »