I would never accuse Leonardo DiCaprio of lacking the guts to play real-life characters that we all love to hate. Why not? Because following his bold, warts-and-all performances as sicko recluse Howard Hughes in Martin Scorsese’s 2004  film “The Aviator” and the scarily paranoid FBI chief in Clint Eastwood’s 2011 biopic “J. Edgar,” Leo is now in the process of  boning up on the beastly behavior of a scandalous cad  in Scorsese’s new drama based on a 2008  confessional  best seller by an ex-convict.

His name is Jordan Belfort and he thought it was a swell idea to call his tell-all tome “The Wolf of Wall Street: Stock Market Multimillionaire at 26, Federal Convict at 36.” Presumably, the sordid details from the book that will be dramatized by Scorsese  and Terence Winter, an Emmy-winning writer for “The Sopranos” and “Boardwalk Empire,” will include the schemes of stockbroker Belfort and members of his phony firm to swindle investors out of $200 million in a shares fraud—a risky endeavor that sped him and his cronies  to the slammer. Moviegoers are also sure to be treated to intimate scenes from Belfort’s cocaine-and-hooker-fueled private life, such as the thrilling moment when, totally stoned and with one eye dead-shut, he managed to land his helicopter in his own back yard. Even more exciting was the night he had the nerve,  if not the necessary skill, to steer his motor yacht into a Mediterranean storm, thereby sinking the boat, not to mention the seaplane and helicopter that it had been carrying.

Despite being hooked on hookers, Belfort did in fact have a wife.  Her name was Nadine, and once, boozed-up as usual, he had sex with her on a mattress of $3 million in $10,000 stacks of bills. There wasn’t much of an afterglow, however, so naturally Belfort kicked Nadine downstairs in full view of their young daughter. Next, he drove into his garage door with his unbuckled child at his side. Exit Nadine.

Obviously, Leo, once so clean-cut and sensitive, is well on his way to cornering the market on brutality.  His fellow players in this down and dirty slice of sleazy real life include Jean Dujardin, Jonah Hill, Jon Favreau, Rob Reiner and Margot Robbie. What’s more, there have been rumors that Julie Andrews may also climb aboard, but your guess is as good as mine when it comes to imagining what Wall Street role she could possibly play.  --GUY FLATLEY