Martin Scorsese Heckled? It’s Part of a Long Showbiz Tradition
This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise — “Wolf” is a three-hour look at the excess and greed of the 1980s, with plentiful sex, crude language, drug use and self-centered behavior and the Academy does skew older — but, if the story is true, the two are in very good company.
After the first Hollywood screening of “Sunset Blvd.” in 1950, Louis B. Mayer walked up to director Billy Wilder and screamed: “You bastard! You have disgraced the industry that made you and fed you! You should be tarred and feathered and run out of Hollywood!” According to a July 1993 Variety article commemorating the film, Wilder looked at Mayer, calmly adjusted his homburg, said “Fuck you” and walked out of the room.
Perhaps some reporters think it’s significant that this confrontation occurred at the Academy, since “Wolf” is definitely an Oscar contender. So the film’s director and star might take comfort that “Sunset Blvd.” survived Mayer’s early attack and was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, winning three. (Interestingly, that was also a Paramount film.) Even more fun: The confrontation with Scorsese and DiCaprio was reported on the Facebook page of 75-year-old actress Hope Holiday who appeared in Wilder films “The Apartment” and “Irma la Douce.” Those two films were considered racy in their day, too. (Holiday also mentioned that some attendees applauded “Wolf.”)
Scorsese, DiCaprio and Wilder got off easy with verbal reprimands. When Les Ballets Russes debuted the Stravinsky-Nijinsky ballet “Rite of Spring” in 1913, audiences were so shocked by the aggressive dancing and depictions of pagan rites that fistfights erupted in the theater. A few years earlier, in 1907, the battle was bigger. At the premiere of John Millington Synge’s “The Playboy of the Western World” at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, the battles got so heated that they spread into the streets and police had to stop what became known as the Playboy Riots.
So “Shame on you!” seems like small potatoes. But on a slow news week, the confrontation is big news — well, big until Justine Sacco or the cast of “Duck Dynasty” weigh in on “Wolf of Wall Street.”