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Wall St. tales developed for screen

Upcoming films to explore financial corruption

Disgraced hedge fund manager Bernard Madoff is ripe for the Hollywood treatment, but the industry has long been mining tales of Wall Street greed and hubris.

Even before Madoff’s stunning tale unfolded, 20th Century Fox had begun fast-tracking a “Wall Street” sequel. Penned by Allan Loeb (“21”), the script will pick up with Gordon Gekko, recently sprung from prison, who re-emerges into a financial world much more tumultuous and cutthroat than the one he once lorded over.

Greed is good for Michael Moore, too, who switched the focus of his next documentary from an examination of foreign policy to an expose of Wall Street crimes and misdemeanors. Moore, who is making his untitled doc in partnership with Overture and Paramount Vantage, couldn’t have asked for a better villain than the Washington-connected Madoff, who is accused of bilking $50 billion from his clients, many of them charities, hospitals and trusts.

And Elevation Filmworks, the production company behind indie pics including “Sherrybaby,” is developing a bigscreen adaptation of Stephen Amidon’s novel “Human Capital.” Published in 2004, the book, which looks at the human toll taken when a father invests all of his family’s money in a mysterious hedge fund, has become eerily timely given the recent headlines. Noam Murro (“Smart People”) is attached to direct.

Loeb, who is busy finishing up his latest “Wall Street 2” draft, says he has been riveted by the Madoff headlines.

“The thing that is so crazy about this story is that Ponzi schemes seem to be the simplest low-class scam,” says Loeb, noting that the Madoff scandal will likely be referenced in “Wall Street 2.” “But this was carried out in the highest-echelon of high-finance. You couldn’t even get in to see this guy unless you had $2 million to invest.”

Loeb says the Madoff case would make a great episode on “Crooked,” a Fox TV show he is developing and producing that deals with white-collar crime. That is, if “Law & Order” doesn’t beat him to the punch.

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