It might not have been a vintage year for Robert De Niro in 2016, but the Academy Award winner could be back to his very best courtesy of HBO's upcoming television movie The Wizard of Lies. Playing the lead Bernie Madoff, the former stock broker and Ponzi scheme creator who committed fraud in the region of $65b and sentenced to 150 years in prison, De Niro joins the likes of Michelle Pfeiffer and Hank Azaria in the biopic.
The teaser dropped this week offers a brief insight into the picture directed by Barry Levinson, illustrating how greed took control of a gifted, flawed and ultimately criminal individual. Premiering in May, this fresh installment from De Niro is sure to have millions watching.
The film will portray the events that led to his incarceration.
Bobby Could Not Understand The Workings Of The Fraudster
Talking to the press in the build up to the screening, De Niro was at a loss to explain how or why Madoff would rip off his clients to the tune of $65b, but stopped short of calling the man a sociopath.
“The only thing that I feel is that his kids didn’t know and his wife didn’t know,” De Niro stated. “What he did is beyond my comprehension. So there’s a disconnect somehow that I still would like to understand.”
The film is an adaptation of Diana B. Henriques' novel and while the actor felt uncomfortable diagnosing the individual, she did not.
“Yes,” replied Henriques. “I don’t think you can conduct your life with such a lack of empathy for the devastation that your causing without meeting that fairly spongy definition (of a sociopath).”
Theatrical Release Would Have Caused Headaches
Incredible to think that the filmmakers did not have the confidence in major Hollywood studios to tell the story of the largest case of fraud in U.S. history, as executive producer Jane Rosenthal outlined.
“We had looked at doing this as a theatrical,” Rosenthal began. “Then we brought it to be HBO. We realized that no studio wanted to make it. We would have had to the independent-film route. It was going to be a struggle to get that made. And ultimately it wouldn’t have the same audience to see it. We would have a much smaller audience seeing it as a theatrical. So as screens are all blurring, and as this business is rapidly changing, this was the best place to make the film."
Great news for HBO subscribers then!