No corner of Wall Street is truly important until Hollywood actors play its heroes and villains. Corporate raiders have “Wall Street,” mortgage-backed securities sparked “Margin Call,” commodities dominate “Trading Places” and stock brokers star in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Now there’s competition to be the first Academy Award winner to play Bernie Madoff, mastermind of the world’s biggest Ponzi scheme.
Richard Dreyfuss has agreed to star in a four-hour ABC miniseries, according to a person at the network who asked not to be identified discussing casting decisions. A project starring Robert De Niro announced in 2011 is still in development at HBO, two people there said.
Meg Ryan, Bette Midler and Susan Sarandon are on ABC’s wish list to play Madoff’s wife, Ruth, the person said. The as-yet- unnamed miniseries will use reporting by ABC News’s Brian Ross, who wrote “The Madoff Chronicles” and will air around the end of the year, the person said.
Dreyfuss, 67, was Dick Cheney in Oliver Stone’s “W.,” Baby Face Nelson in “Dillinger” and Meyer Lansky in a 1999 film named after the gangster. He didn’t respond to e-mails.
“It’s not like I ever considered myself a bad person,” Madoff, 76, said in a Politico interview last March from a medium-security prison in Butner, North Carolina. He added that “everybody thinks the worst of me.” Wearing a single-breasted charcoal suit to court, he was sentenced to 150 years in prison in 2009 for causing losses of $17.5 billion.
“I shouldn’t be saying this now, but I’ve sort of developed a few Ponzi schemes,” De Niro said about preparing for the Madoff role in a 2013 interview with Bloomberg Television. “I have my own theories about him. One basic thing, it’s interesting how it’s about trust.”