Martin Scorsese is a meticulous director who leaves no stone unturned when telling his incredible stories. His latest project, Killers of the Flower Moon is no exception. So when we found out that he decided to omit one truly remarkable and fascinating detail out of his epic tale of Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street, we obviously had to dig deeper into the why of it all and share it. When Belfort was sent to prison for his various fraudulent securities and trading crimes, his cellmate was none other than Tommy Chong! That’s right, one-half of the most famous stoner duo in cinema history, “Cheech (Marin) and Chong” shared a bunk with the character that Leonardo DiCaprio so fabulously brought to life in the movie. This seems like an impossible coincidence that would be worth at least a scene or two, right? So why was it left out when it could have so easily added to the greatness of the movie?

Who Is Jordan Belfort?

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort leaving a helicopter in The Wolf of Wall Street
Image via Paramount Pictures

Jordan Belfort grew up in Bayside, Queens, New York as the son of two accountants. He enjoyed a modest, middle-class lifestyle, but was always destined to become something much bigger (for better or worse — mostly worse) than his parents. When he became the head of his brokerage house at the age of 26, he made $49 million and drove a white Ferrari. He had a knack for selling things. Hell, he could sell sand to a mummy. But he also had his share of vices. He drank too much. He sought the company of sex workers frequently. But most of all, he loved to do drugs — lots of them.

These are all expensive habits, and in order to maintain this rock and roll lifestyle every day, he needed to keep the cash rolling in. And he did, for a long time as a trader on Wall Street. He was a self-proclaimed, “money-crazed bitch.” and made no bones about the fact that he loved money and making it more than anything else in the world. His rise to the top of the trading world was so unlikely, that it attracted the great Martin Scorsese to bring his story to the big screen and have the most bankable A-lister star in the lead role in Leonardo DiCaprio.

Jordan Belfort and Tommy Chong Were Cellmates in Prison

Image via Paramount Pictures 

Jordan Belfort needed to make enough money to maintain the hedonistic and materialistic life that he had established for himself and his wife, Naomi (Margot Robbie). People who work on Wall Street are not necessarily the most ethical people in the world, and I think that’s putting it very nicely — they will screw over their own mothers to make an extra buck. Belfort was the poster boy of this “no holds barred, cash is king” mentality that is pervasive in financial circles and brokerage houses. It is how you have to be to win on Wall Street, and Belfort won for a long time by bending the law without breaking it. But when that changed, and Belfort decided to work outside the letter of the law, he was investigated by the Securities and Exchanges Commission (S.E.C.), and sent to prison on fraud charges after being busted by the F.B.I.

This is all covered in Scorsese’s honest and thorough portrayal of the man in The Wolf of Wall Street. What Scorsese decided against sharing with us, unfortunately, is the unbelievable coincidence that happened when he walked into his jail cell to start his four-year sentence in 2004. His bunkmate was none other than the comedy stoner legend, Tommy Chong, who was doing a nine-month turn for selling drug paraphernalia! Can you imagine these two doing time together in a 8×10 cell? It’s a delicious Hollywood story and for some reason, the decorated director decided to leave it out of the movie.

RELATED: ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ Ending Explained: What Happens to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jordan Belfort?

Chong Inspired Belfort To Write ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’

Image via Fox

If you’ve seen The Wolf of Wall Street, then you know that there is nothing Jordan Belfort likes more than the sound of his own voice. He recently shared that he and Tommy Chong had plenty of story time sessions after the lights went out on the cell block, according to The Hollywood Reporter, “I spent five days in solitary. It was brutal, absolutely brutal. But it was minimum security, and after solitary it was like a boys’ club — and who’s my bunkmate? Tommy Chong from “Cheech & Chong.” I couldn’t believe it.” He and Chong were cracking each other up as he continued in the article, “He was in the process of writing his book. We used to tell each other stories at night, and I had him rolling hysterically on the floor. The third night, he goes, “You’ve got to write a book.” So I started writing, and I knew it was bad. It was terrible. I was about to call it quits, and then I went into the prison library and stumbled upon The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe, and I was like, “That’s how I want to write!” Doesn’t this seem like an anecdote that is at least worth mentioning in a movie that is already well over two hours without it? Maybe Scorsese didn’t want to extend a film that is already over three hours long with scenes that aren’t necessarily pertinent to the outcome or story arc of Belfort, but it still seems like a wasted opportunity.

Alas, we will never get to see what the chemistry between Belfort and Chong may have looked like in The Wolf of Wall Street. Imagine the guys that he could have brought in to play the stoner. We think that John C. Reilly or Tim Robbins with a beard would have been a good choice. Or even someone from Scorses’s stable of muses like Robert DeNiro or the late Ray Liotta? It would have elevated an already stellar film to new heights. Missed opportunity aside, the real-life Jordan Belfort is still dabbling in risky markets like cryptocurrency while maintaining a long-running gig as a motivational speaker.

The Big Picture

  • Martin Scorsese’s latest project, Killers of the Flower Moon, shows his meticulous attention to detail in telling incredible stories like the one of Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street.
  • Belfort’s time in prison is an interesting and coincidental story, as his cellmate turned out to be comedy stoner legend Tommy Chong. This could have added to the greatness of the movie if included.
  • Chong actually inspired Belfort to write his book, The Wolf of Wall Street, during their time together in prison.

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