Oliver Stone's latest attack on American capitalism - "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" is finally hitting theaters April 2010, twenty-three years after its predecessor. According to Michael Lewis, who interviewed the moviemaker for his latest Vanity Fair piece, Stone's biggest problem with the sequel was making a movie based on helplessly diabolical bankers, actually watchable.
Lewis wrote that Stone - an ardent left-wing ideologue, friendly acquaintance to Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, a moral relativist concerning Hitler and Stalin, and director of "W" and "Platoon" - felt an obligation to reverse the societal damage and unintended consequences of the first installment.
"As a vehicle of change ... the movie was a catastrophe," Lewis wrote. It apparently inspired, rather than deterred, a generation of young men to enter the field and become the next Gordon Gekko (the "diabolical money manager" played by Michael Douglas).
"I was shocked, truly shocked, when I went back [to Wall Street]," Stone recalls from his visit to shoot the sequel. "A million had become a billion dollars. They'd replaced people of substance with people who made money. The Volckers had become Greenspans."
Lewis also interviewed Douglas, who stars in the sequel as well. "We wanted to capture the hyper-materialism of the culture," Douglas said.
Even by mainstream media and Hollywood standards, Lewis's demonization of bankers and the financial industry is extreme. A sampling:
-"Stone's greatest challenge: creating a hero for a corrupted, collapsing world."
-"Arcane subject matter, abstract ideas, unsympathetic characters, shallow motives."
-"Wall Street firms have been destroyed by young men running out of control."
-"Gordon Gekko doesn't really even exist anymore ... he has become so ordinary -the hedge-fund manager - that he blends in with the landscape."
-"On Wall Street, youth and innocence have long since divorced."
-"It's difficult to tell a story about the corruption of character when everyone in it is already corrupt."
With "Money Never Sleeps," Stone joins the long list of liberals and socialists to officialy declare the death of the inherently evil and unsustainable model called capitalism: "Why did I go back? Because it's important. It's the collapse of capitalism and the collapse of our society. It is. Our way of life is going to change."