Guess Which Iconic “Wolf of Wall Street” Scene Was Improvised?

Apparently "Sell me this pen" was a bit of DiCaprio improv

Leonardo DiCaprio attends the UK Premiere of "The Wolf Of Wall Street" at the Odeon Leicester Square on January 9, 2014 in London, England
Leonardo DiCaprio, improv star.
Karwai Tang/WireImage

Martin Scorsese’s 2013 dramedy The Wolf of Wall Street is a film of almost entirely iconic scenes — at least according to me, a noted Wolf of Wall Street stan. Most of these scenes can probably be credited to the film’s writers and/or Jordan Belfort himself, whose 2007 memoir inspired the blockbuster, but it turns out one of the flick’s most famous lines was actually improvised.

In a recent episode of Hot Ones, Wall Street actor Jon Bernthal revealed the “sell me this pen” exchange — which gets a reprise in the film’s final scene — was the product of pure improvisation, inspired by star Leonardo DiCaprio’s security detail. In the scene, DiCaprio’s Belfort passes a pen around to a few of his friends as a stunt over an unpretentious dinner, asking them to “Sell me this pen.” When it gets to Bernthal’s character, he asks DiCaprio to “Do me a favor and write your name down on that napkin for me.” DiCaprio says he can’t because he doesn’t have a pen, to which Bernthal replies, “Exactly. Supply and demand.”

According to Bernthal, who played drug dealing Belfort pal Brad Bodnick, DiCaprio lifted the idea from an experience his security guard claimed to have had with the real Jordan Belfort.

“When Leo was walking to the set that day, his security was a New York City detective and he said he had a job interview with the real Jordan Belfort,” Bernthal told Hot Ones host Sean Evans. “And Leo said, ‘Really? What was the interview?’ And he said, ‘He handed me a pen and said sell that pen.’ So, Leo, he didn’t tell anybody. He just threw that into that scene. And everything was reactive off of that.”

And thus, an iconic bit of American cinema quoted by frat boys and Wall Street wannabes everywhere was born.

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