Leonardo Dicaprio both stars in and produced the latest controversy-courting Martin Scorsese picture, The Wolf of Wall Street, and amidst growing criticism of the movie's unabashed look at the life of notorious former Wall Street broker Jordan Belfort, Leo has been forced to jump on the defensive for his latest film.

Leonardo DiCaprio
Leo stars as the shameless Jordan Belfort in the movie

Whilst a number of critics have praised Scorsese's style and the talent of the film's lead man, a number of critics can't get over the subject matter explored in the film enough to give it a chance. Whilst some reviewers of the film have seen it as a scathing critique of the problems affecting America today, others see it as a shameless promotion of the things it supposedly stands against, and it is these people who Leo was forced to address in his recent sit-dow with HitFix.

"I think that at least the attempt going into it was to try to do something really outside of the box and I think Marty (Scorsese) had the same approach," the actor said. "In that regard I feel very proud of this performance. I think we took a lot of chances, and no matter what people think of the movie, we swung for the fences on this one."

Read our round-up of reviews for The Wolf of Wall Street

"I keep referencing Caligula but you think about Scarface films like that, I don't know how people are going to react to it right off the bat, but I think as the years roll by people will appreciate what we were trying to do here," DiCaprio continued, before going on to respond to the controversy surrounding the depiction of a hedonistic lifestyle in the film.

Wolf of Wall Street
The hedonistic lifestyle enjoyed by the cast has been particularly unnerving for some

"The unique thing about Marty is that he doesn't judge his characters. And that was something that you don't quite understand while you're making the movie, but he allows the freedom of this almost hypnotic, drug-infused, wild ride that these characters go on. And he allows you, as an audience - guilty or not - to enjoy in that ride without judging who these people are," he added. "I mean ultimately I think if anyone watches this movie, at the end of Wolf of Wall Street they're going to see that we're not at all condoning this behaviour. In fact we're saying that this is something that is in our very culture and it needs to be looked at and it needs to be talked about."

The Wolf of Wall Street is out in American cinemas now and arrives in UK cinemas on 17 January.

Watch the trailer for The Wolf of Wall Street