What wouldn't Jonah do for Scorsese

GARRY MADDOX
Last updated 15:06 23/01/2014
Paramount Pictures

From Academy Award winning director Martin Scorsese comes The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

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Jonah Hill was so desperate to work on The Wolf of Wall Street that he lobbied Leonardo DiCaprio for the role, accepted the minimum wage - then ended up with bronchitis for snorting fake cocaine.

The star of Superbad, 21 Jump Street and Moneyball is up for best supporting actor at the Oscars for playing fraudster Donnie Azoff in Martin Scorsese's movie about notorious financial scammer Jordan Belfort.

He worked for US$60,000 (NZ$72,250) on a shoot lasting almost seven months, wearing fake teeth and adopting a lisp.

"They gave me the lowest amount of money possible," Hill said on the Howard Stern Show. "That was their offer.

"I said 'I will sign the papers tonight, fax me the papers tonight. I want to sign them tonight before they change their mind'."

Hill said the Screen Actors Guild minimum was about US$60,000 and noted The Wolf of Wall Street is not a movie you make for the money.

"I would sell my house and give [Scorsese] all my money to work for him ... You do 22 Jump Street or you do other things and you can pay your rent ...

"I would have done anything in the world. I would do it again in a second."

DiCaprio has told The Hollywood Reporter that Hill lobbied him for the role.

"'I read this script and there's nobody else who should play Donnie Azoff except for me'," DiCaprio said of Hill's pitch.

"I was like, 'OK'. And you started talking about how incredible you thought this screenplay was and how you knew guys like this, where money was paramount. You knew who this guy was. And I had to relay that to Marty."

During the shoot, Hill and DiCaprio were required to sniff lines of vitamin D powder to portray their character's extreme cocaine-snorting, with multiple retakes leaving Hill sick for six weeks.

"I snorted so much of that stuff that I got, like, bronchitis," he told The Observer Magazine. "My lungs were filled with powder and I got really sick for a month and a half.

"But, I mean, I'd do it again in a second. The first time you snort fake cocaine in a Scorsese movie you feel like ... I don't know!

"I got embarrassed because I said that it's every actor's dream. I guess it's not, but to me, it's a pretty iconic thing to do."

- The Age with agencies

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