Saturday, February 20, 2010
Cheer up: A diversion from fretting over the sad ephemera of your 401(k) statement will soon be available to you. Get ready to carve out a movie night sometime this spring or summer ... he’s baaaack, and he’s still the one you’ll love to hate, more now than you did 20 years ago. And with good reason.
Gordon Gekko, the suavely cynical investment buccaneer of Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street,” returns later this year in “Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps,” the long-awaited sequel to the 1987 film that typified the freewheeling Reagan era of the financial bazaar — the precursor to the financial temblor we’re climbing out from under today.
Michael Douglas, Oscar-winning producer (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”) and current VOG for the NBC Nightly News, won the Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of Gekko, a ruthless Wall Street trader. The original ended with Gekko on his way to the slammer for an undetermined number of years.
Fast forward to what’s next. In Stone’s sequel, Gekko’s getting out of jail and doing so in high style.
One way or another, this is gonna be a lot of fun. And much of it will center around one player. Taking nothing away from Shia LeBeouf, Carey Mulligan ("An Education"), Frank Langella or Josh Brolin (George Bush in Stone’s “W”), the big draw here, the one who’ll put asses in the theater seats, is Michael Douglas.
He was always nothing less than entertaining in the original, his warped moral principles embodied in a coiffed, gregarious dynamo with a relentlessly cocksure charm. It should be great to see how Gekko the lion has mellowed after X years in the pen. Or if he’s mellowed: some images from the trailer suggest he’s up to his old moneyed tricks. And count on Stone to make a point or twelve about the very real connections between the Reagan-era economy and its hallmark of deregulation, and the fallout we’re enduring right now as a direct consequence of that deregulation.
Taking nothing away from Jason Reitman, George Clooney and “Up in the Air” — the Oscar-nominated film about a man sent around the country to fire people, a movie hailed as the perfect cinematic distillation of our current economic woes — but Oliver Stone may have the last word on his one. With Oliver’s usual twists to be expected, “WS2” is apparently set to scope out the big picture, to tell some story of the wider economy with a focus on the titans and knaves of Wall Street who make those firings necessary in the first place.
Image credits: Douglas as Gekko: From the "Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps" trailer, © 2010 Twentieth Century Fox.