Leonardo DiCaprio turned 38 in late 2012. He was filming The Wolf of Wall Street at the time, a movie that was only possible once mysterious producers Red Granite Pictures became involved — and Red Granite, according to the Wall Street Journal, threw Leo one hell of a birthday blowout:
Shooting began in August 2012. Three months later, when Mr. DiCaprio had a birthday, the Red Granite principals forged a closer tie to him with an unusual gift: the Oscar statuette presented to Marlon Brando in 1955 for best actor in “On the Waterfront.” People who described the gift said the statuette had been acquired for around $600,000 through a New Jersey memorabilia dealer.
Brando's Oscar wasn't the only element of the shindig that was over-the-top. The Hollywood Reporter cited a source that said the whole thing was "pure debauchery."
"The Red Granite guys were having a competition on who could spend the most money on champagne service," the source told THR, "They spent over a million dollars buying bottles that were brought out by scantily clad women, with sparklers on each magnum that were $25,000 each."
A Red Granite source thoroughly denied that any of that happened.
Red Granite has plenty of reason to be on the defense. As the Wall Street Journal reported, the production company is under investigation "in two countries" — including the United States. Investigators allege that Red Granite moved a whopping $155 million USD from a fund intended to support "local economic development" within Malaysia into Red Granite's coffers. And this was done down a long and winding road of shell companies in an effort to hide the original source of the funds.
So in a deeply ironic twist, it's possible that a mega-hit movie about shady finance on Wall Street was financed by sketchy investors from overseas.
If true, it's the kind of twist that might get written out of a script in production as too convenient or implausible to be believable.
Either way, Leo still has Brando's Oscar stored somewhere, and we're sure that was some damned fine birthday champagne.