Leonardo DiCaprio admitted Thursday at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival that a YouTube video called "Drunkest Guy Ever Goes for More Beer" inspired his performance in The Wolf of Wall Street.
Referring to a comic scene in the film where his character, Jordan Belfort, tries to get to his car while on Quaaludes, DiCaprio said he "obsessively" watched the video to help him capture the physicality of someone under the influence of a sedative-hypnotic drug.
The actor, 39, discussed the role while accepting the Cinema Vanguard Award with Martin Scorsese.
"It's not just the fact that he was sort of elasticated and trying to get [up], it was his motivation that was really intriguing," DiCaprio said of the man in the YouTube video. "He had one singular goal, one that was to get a beer out of the 7-Eleven, and it took him a half an hour."
"And he was writhing around the floor. And people were watching and scratching their heads saying, 'What are you doing?' He just wouldn't stop reaching for something that was a life-sustaining force for him."
The actor says that he chatted with the real-life Jordan Belfort "about what it was like being on Quaaludes because I've never done it. And he said, 'Look. You think that you're operating the same, but the mechanics of what your brain thinks and what your body actually physically manifests are two entirely different things.' "
DiCaprio said he imagined himself "this primordial beast crawling towards this space machine."
"But the way Marty [Scorsese] holds it, this wide shot. And he just waits for me to crawl there. Took forever. It felt like 10 minutes for me to just writhe over there," he said.
Reporting by SCOTT HUVER