They say history repeats itself, and that certainly seems to be the case when it comes to Oliver Stone films. Another financial crisis is clearly a cue for another Wall Street film to Hollywood-ise the whole thing.
As the sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, premieres around the world, we take the time to fill you in on what’s changed over the last 23 years.
The Gekko (Gordon)
Michael Douglas is still ruthless charmer Gordon Gekko, but his stint in prison (for financial crimes) has left him something of a reformed man. With his infamous “greed is good” speech far behind him, this latest film sees Gekko attempt to warn the financial folks at Wall Street – most of whom are apparently just as merciless as they were back in 1987 – of the impending economic downturn and stock market crash. If the original Gekko was reportedly based on the likes of Ivan Boesky and Carl Icahn, then the 2010 version is, perhaps, Vince Cable. Or maybe someone more glamorous.
Failing that, he tries to reconcile with his estranged daughter, Winnie, played by Carey Mulligan (with an American accent, so we’re told…). Trouble is, Winnie works for some sort of liberal blogging website (typical), and so naturally wants nothing to do with her finance-focused father.
If the responsibility of sexing up this world of suits and scandal previously lay with Daryl Hannah, this time around it’s down to Shia LaBeouf, who plays Winnie’s fiancé, Jacob. He also works for Keller Zabel, a fictional company based on Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, and the 2010 equivalent of the first film’s Blue Star Airlines.
Jacob turns to Wall Street veteran Gekko for help investigating the death of his mentor, and in return he agrees to help bridge the relationship between Winnie and her father. The rest, quite literally, is history. Douglas is back in the role of an all-knowing, if somewhat less corrupt, advisor to the young naive newbies of Wall Street. Simples.
Throw in Susan Sarandon as Jacob’s mother, and Josh Brolin as a potential murderer, and you’ve got yourself a relatively star-studded cast, too. There are also a few cameos to look out for, including original cast member Michael Sheen, who reprises his role as Bud Fox for a brief encounter with Gekko. Art doesn’t so much imitate life, but merge with it, as further cameos include Vanity Fair editor, Graydon Carter, as well as Donald Trump – although his scenes were cut from the final film and are only available on DVD.
The original film won Douglas an Academy Award for Best Actor, and did wonders for glamourising the reputation of stockbrokers and traders the world over. Whether this follow-up will have the same success seems unlikely, and the film is already gaining criticism for the unsubtlety of its message.
Yet for those who didn’t experience the economic high jinks the first time around, the accompanying film might be come as something of a novelty, and for those that did, perhaps something of a tradition. In these uncertain times, let’s all just go to the cinema.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleep is released in UK cinemas on 6th October.