Marketplace Scratch Pad

Money never sleeps

Scott Jagow Sep 8, 2009

That’s the subtitle of Wall Street 2, Oliver Stone’s sequel to one of the greatest business movies of all time. Stone starts shooting this week in Manhattan’s financial district, but the stock market won’t be the story this time around. Appropriately, the Federal Reserve will have a much bigger role.

In Wall Street 2, Michael Douglas is back as the ruthless profiteer Gordon Gekko. The sequel starts out with Gekko getting out of prison for insider trading. From the New York Times:

Mr. Douglas, in an interview, said actors are often hesitant to make sequels, “particularly one where I got an Oscar the first time around.” But he said the magnitude of the financial crisis erased any reservations.

The continued resonance of Gekko, Mr. Douglas said, has “probably been the biggest surprise of my career, that people say that this seductive villain has motivated me to go into this business.”

To this day, Mr. Douglas said, it is a usual occurrence to finish dinner out and have “a well-lubricated Wall Street businessman come up to me and say, ‘You’re the man.’ “

Mr. Douglas added, “There’s an absurdity to it.”

Here’s what Stone says about the first movie:

“I thought it was a bubble that was over,” Mr. Stone said of the 1980s. “I thought those days were going to come to an end. The excess.”

…In his first run at Wall Street, Mr. Stone produced characters and a portrayal that lived longer than he ever expected and with unintended consequences. But he never would have made a second version if it didn’t appear that the system, and high finance, had finally been brought to its knees.

“We wouldn’t have done this movie in 2006,” he said. “Things were too loose. I didn’t want to glorify pigs.”

But it’ll be awfully tough to top the first script:

GEKKO: The public is out there throwing darts at a board, sport. I don’t throw darts at a board. I only bet sure things. Read Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.” ‘Every battle is won before it is ever fought.’ Think about it…

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