‘Wolf of Wall Street’ too wild for local censors?

Wolf Of WallstreetProducer Riza Aziz (left), and cast members Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie arrive for the UK Premiere of ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ at Leicester Square, London January 10, 2014. 

(MM) – “The Wolf of Wall Street” may be funded by Malaysian producer Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz’s firm, but movie fans here will not get to watch the Hollywood show after it was reportedly banned by local authorities.

According to a report by The Hollywood Reporter this week, the film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio was banned in Malaysia and Nepal despite getting through the censors —albeit not without significant cuts — in strict Middle East countries such as Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.

“Sources within Malaysia’s government film office told THR that the distributor of the film realised upon screening it that it would face huge problems with the censorship board because of its profanity, nudity and sex,” said the report.

Malaysian viewers motivated enough can, however, catch the film in Singapore, which has approved it for shows in up to nine theatres there after slapping it with the “R21” rating that limits it to those over the age of 21.

The new Scorsese comedy covers the debauched life of former stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who was convicted of securities fraud, during the 90s heydays of Wall Street.

But the raunchiness of the show that features sex, nudity, public masturbation, drugs and 569 instances of the F-word has had distributors across the globe fighting to get the film — or most of it — approved for viewing.

“Some of the content in the film makes it difficult in certain territories where they have censorship and can even ban films,” Christian Mercuri, the head of international at Red Granite, was quoted as saying by The Hollywood Reporter.

The movie made waves in Malaysia last month after whistleblower website Sarawak Report published reports that revealed Riza’s role in Red Granite Pictures, the producers of “The Wolf of Wall Street”, and linked him to the purchase of a RM110 million apartment in New York.

The allegations contained on the website run by Clare Rewcastle-Brown, the sister-in-law of former British prime minister Gordon Brown, led to demands by opposition lawmakers for Riza to be investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over a reported purchase.

But the MACC said on December 30 that it was not empowered under the law to investigate such “mismatch” of income against “excessive” assets, but added it was hoping for an amendment to be tabled in Parliament next year that will allow it to do so.

On January 6, lawyers representing Red Granite sent a letter of demand to Sarawak Report over allegations that the firm was funded using “ill-gotten wealth” from Malaysia, that “The Wolf of Wall Street” was dropped by major studios but resurrected upon the firm’s involvement, and the firm was a Malaysian concern.

“The Wolf of Wall Street” has already picked up numerous accolades, which most recently included two Golden Globes this week for “Best Comedy” and “Best Comedy Actor” that was won by DiCaprio.

It is also nominated for Academy Awards in the categories of Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (DiCaprio), Best Supporting Actor (Jonah Hill), and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Riza is the stepson of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.