The collapse of Enron is a compelling story of greed and betrayal of trust in modern America… if you can get your head around the whole thing. There’s some serious math and financial hoohah going on here, and even after watching the excellent and informative documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room I don’t think I could really explain to you just what the fuck these guys were doing. But I know it was bad!
Maybe Leonardo DiCaprio can help me understand it more. He’s signed up to star in and produce a movie based on the best selling book Conspiracy of Fools, which is apparently a riveting and novelistic look at the shenanigans in Houston as Enron slowly crumbled. But don’t worry, Leo isn’t going to try and play Ken Lay (may he burn in hell) – the movie version is going to insert a fictional young newcomer to the energy trading company who will expose the corruption from the inside.
A couple of years ago I would have been outraged by the idea of mucking with history like this, and in the process denying credit to the people who really broke the Enron story through much less cinematic techniques like reading annual reports and doing math. But I’ve learned a lot about the movie business in the years I’ve been writing for CHUD, and this is one of only two ways into this story, at least for a narrative film. The other way would be to tell the story through the eyes of one of the Enron execs, which would be interesting, but doesn’t give Leo much to do. Actually, the more that I think about it, it would be very interesting to see the fall of Enron through the eyes of the guys who engineered it from within, a tragedy of hubris and stupidity. Oh well.
Warner Bros is going to produce the movie, which is being written, believe it or not, by the guy who did The Longest Yard, and who is writing Magneto. And the adaptation of Mark Millar’s Wanted. Not exactly the first thought when I want to make a corruption thriller in the vein of the great films of the 70s, but it’s Hollywood.