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Director’s Cut

In 2006,we had Stephen Schiff write a script,but it was celebrating the hedge fund culture.

Written by Debesh Banerjee |
October 29, 2010 1:03:09 am

How did the sequel to Wall Street happen?

In 2006,we had Stephen Schiff write a script,but it was celebrating the hedge fund culture. It ended up being James Bond stuff. In 2009,I got involved in Allan Loeb’s script — it had a hook — but was still based on hedge funders. So we changed the plot to base it on bankers.

The first Wall Street was about the struggle for power,honour. What direction did you want to take the story next?

The original was about a young man and his father,and how he betrayed him and his labour union to promote himself and his mentor Gordon Gekko. The sequel has similar issues of conflict of love,trust,betrayal,and greed. And Gekko is torn between his desire for family and being a player once again. How he splits that attraction is an interesting magnet.

Your father was a stockbroker. Did you not want to become one too,rather than enlisting in the army?

I never thought of it because I wasn’t of his caliber,mathematically or economically. He liked movies very much,and wanted me to make one on business. After Platoon,I made a business movie,which was a fast-vanishing genre. Wall Street revived interest in the world of finance and felt sexy too because in the 1980s,money was sexy.

Could you apply his knowledge to the two Wall Street films?

My father worked there for over 50 years. But the Wall Street of the 2000s has very little to do with the Wall Street of the 1980s. It is still the major engine for capitalism,and can be made to work with proper regulations. We spent time talking to people like billionaire and entrepreneur philanthropist George Soros and Eliot Spitzer who investigated AIG/Goldman Sachs,Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone and Donald Trump. They read the script,shared inputs and helped Shia LeBeouf understand what it was like to be young on Wall Street.

Your next is a mini-series on the secrets of the U S.

My next film is a 12-part documentary called Untold History of the United States,which will release next year and represents three years of work. Our history has been an isolated one with American interests first,a sort of isolationist’s history. It’s important that our children should have a more global view of the US and its position in the world.

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