Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hollywood casts business titans as villians

Michael Douglas stars as Gordon Gekko in 1990 hit movie "Wall Street." Hollywood now plans a new group of films and TV shows highlighting business excesses, including a sequel to Wall Street.
Hollywood has found its next bad guy.

Bloomberg News - Welcome back, Gordon Gekko.

Film and television studios are rushing to tap America's fixation with the financial crisis and anger at the Wall Street executives blamed for it.

News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox is making a sequel to Wall Street, where Michael Douglas's Gekko proclaimed, "Greed is good." NBC's Law & Order is building episodes around financial themes. The General Electric Co. division also is developing a one-hour series called Outrageous Behavior, a battle of the sexes set in Wall Street.

"Our development is tied to what is relevant in today's world," Teri Weinberg, NBC Entertainment's executive vice president overseeing comedy and drama programming, said in an e- mail. "We hope to exemplify the foolishness of the human condition in the world of finance."

Time Warner Inc. has slated Confessions of a Wall Street Shoeshine Boy for 2009. The movie follows a reporter who uncovers corporate criminals by befriending the man who polishes their wingtips, according to Inc. The New York-based media company will release The Wolf of Wall Street in 2010, based on the autobiography of a stockbroker involved in a 1990s securities fraud, IMDB said.

"These films may be timed just right to take advantage of the wave of interest" in Wall Street and the economy, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers in Encino, Calif. "One of these movies may hope to be the next Wall Street."

As of Oct. 14, demand for the two-decade-old film at Netflix Inc., the mail-order movie service, had increased 11 percent since Sept. 1, according to Steve Swasey, a company spokesman.

The original Wall Street ends with police collecting evidence on Gekko for securities violations. The sequel follows the character after he emerges from prison, according to the trade magazine Variety. Douglas may reprise his role as Gekko, the magazine reported.

The rush to exploit the crisis may lead to films lacking nuance and depth of character, said Stanley Weiser, who co-wrote the original Wall Street and wrote W., the film about George W. Bush that opened on Oct. 17.

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