Bernie Goes to Hollywood
It's been more than two years since Bernard Madoff confessed to running the biggest Ponzi scheme of all time. Now the script has flipped: People are worming their way out of the woodwork to make a buck off Madoff. The first wave of Madoff lit has already been released, including fraud investigator Harry Markopolos's No One Would Listen and mistress Sheryl Weinstein's Madoff's Other Secret. A documentary film, The Foxhounds, based on Markopolos's book, was released last November, and a play, Imagining Madoff, is opening in Washington this summer at Theater J. In Hollywood, thinly veiled takes are starting to trickle out. Tower Heist, a comedy about a group of working men seeking revenge on their Ponzi schemer, is scheduled for fall.
Yet a big-budget Madoff feature has yet to be made—possibly because anyone ever hoping to work with swindled bigwigs Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and even Kevin Bacon has had second thoughts. Or because pulling it off will be so tricky, especially the casting. "The easiest part would be depicting all the dupes; they range from Swiss bankers to Connecticut WASPs to plumbers to movie stars to this Austrian banker lady who wears wacky wigs," says Erin Arvedlund, author of the Madoff book Too Good to Be True. "The harder part is within the family. It would be like casting The Godfather all over again." To get things started, Bloomberg Businessweek asked Arvedlund and top Hollywood casting directors Sarah Katzman (Wedding Crashers, Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma) and Nancy Nayor (The Whole Nine Yards, Road Trip, Scream 4) to cast a hypothetical Madoff blockbuster.