Martin Scorsese on how Margot Robbie won him over by slapping Leonardo DiCaprio during Wolf of Wall Street audition

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Hayley Spencer
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Margot Robbie’s role as tough-talking Naomi Lapaglia - the wife of philandering, degenerate financier Jordan Belfort - in Wolf of Wall Street remains her most iconic to date.

But when speaking about the movie in the past, the actor has admitted that she almost missed out on the role due to what she felt was an unimpressive audition - until one impromptu moment clinched it.

Now, the film’s director Martin Scorsese has confirmed the moment that got Robbie the role: when she slapped Leonardo DiCaprio in the face.

Speaking of the audition in Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People Issue, Scorsese explained: "She clinched her part in The Wolf of Wall Street during our first meeting by hauling off and giving Leonardo DiCaprio a thunderclap of a slap on the face. [It was] an improvisation that stunned us all."

Robbie, 26, has also pinpointed the same moment herself in the past. Recalling in an interview with Harper's Bazaar how she flew into New York for the audition last minute, she says she floundered through a few scenes and felt she was failing to match DiCaprio when he introduced improvisation to the scenes.

The pair then cut to a scene where they're improvising being married and having an argument.

"In my head I was like, 'You have literally 30 seconds left in this room and if you don’t do something impressive nothing will ever come of it. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance, just take it,'" says Robbie.

 "And so I start screaming at him and he’s yelling back at me. And he’s really scary. I can barely keep up. And he ends it saying, 'You should be happy to have a husband like me. Now get over here and kiss me.' 

“So I walk up really close to his face and then I’m like, 'Maybe I should kiss him. When else am I ever going to get a chance to kiss Leo DiCaprio, ever?' But another part of my brain clicks and I just go, Whack! I hit him in the face. And then I scream, 'Fuck you!' And that’s not in the script at all. The room just went dead silent and I froze." 

"I’m thinking, 'You just hit Leonardo DiCaprio in the face. They’re going to arrest you because that’s assault. You’re definitely never going to work again, that’s for sure. They’ll probably sue you as well in case there’s a bruise on his face and he needs to film something else.'

"And then all of a sudden Marty and Leo just burst out laughing. Marty says, 'That was great!' Leo’s like, 'Hit me again!'"

The risque scene clearly worked for Robbie, who went onto score the role in The Wolf of Wall Street, a film that won rave reviews and garnered five Oscar nominations last year. 

Proof that going with your gut can get you your dream job – even if her unorthodox approach isn’t one we’d ever recommend in any normal workplace.

Photos: Rex Features.