Madoff, the Movie

Dustin Hoffman as Bernie Madoff? In Hollywood, the Swindler's Biopic is Underway

When Hollywood and Wall Street collide, the results can be, well, interesting. According to The Insider, an entertainment web site, a feature film about financier and swindler Bernard Madoff has been in production for about three weeks. The working title: Bernie Madoff: Made Off with America. The film has a promotional web site, which, according to The New New York Times "Deal Book" blog, indicates that the film is not likely to be an Academy Award nominee. The Daily Beast web site had some fun with casting suggestions, including Dustin Hoffman as Madoff. Actor Kevin Bacon could play himself, the site noted, becauase the actor was one of many entertainment figures who fell victim to Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

To gain some depth, the film makers might do well to focus not only on the money that Madoff "made off" with, but also the trust he diminished in the market, which could have long-term reverberations. In an interview with Knowledge@Wharton earlier this year, information management professor Maurice E. Schweitzersaid that because of the Madoff scandal,"investors… are now going to be much less trusting of legitimate, honest hedge fund managers and investment managers. There's going to be a lack of liquidity, so the markets are going to be harmed by this." In that same interview,G. Richard Shell, a Wharton professor of legal studies and business ethics, also noted the broader impact: "There's no way that any social system can work without trust. So we're still going to have to trust each other, somehow. And the interesting question is going to be, what institutions will rise that will allow us to do that?"

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