It's a strange time for a movie about Wall Street. The market's down and public opinion of the masters of the universe is at an all-time low. But Entertainment Weekly reports that Michael Douglas has, after months of rumors, officially agreed to make his return to the role of Gordon Gekko in the sequel to the movie that won him the 1987 Oscar for Best Actor.

According to EW, "Oliver Stone will be back as the director of the followup to the movie that put the phrase "Greed is good" into the popular lexicon. Shia LaBeouf is in talks to play a young trader in Wall Street 2, which is set 20 years after the first installment. The film's plot will revolve around Gekko's life after he gets out of jail during the current economic climate."

The Wikipedia entry for Mr. Gekko lists him as having been in his mid-forties, which would put him in his mid-sixties now. By the time the movie actually hits theaters, he could be well into seventies. Will he pause in the middle of his "Greed is good" speech for a bathroom break?

I'll be lined up at the movie theater the day this one comes out with the rest of the dorks, but I just don't see how this sequel will be as compelling if it tries to go for the same powerful Wall Street image, given that the industry has basically been exposed as a scam. On the other hand, it could chronicle Gekko's golden years as an ex-con living quietly -- but I somehow doubt that it will.

Even before Wall Street itself imploded, the plan for the sequel, Money Never Sleeps, according to the project's original screenwriter, Stephen Schiff, was to show a reformed Gordon Gekko, fresh out of white collar prison, determined to redeem himself through some massive philanthropic caper of global proportions. Yes, the focus was going to be on philanthropy, and not greed, and the movie would take place in major financial capitals of the world: London, Moscow, Shanghai, and Dubai, to show how much the world has changed since Gekko ruled it.

Over a year ago, people in finance would have taken the day off, as an entire office, to see the Wall Street sequel. That's how big of a hero Gordon Gekko was, and possibly still is to some.

Schiff has been dropped from the project,
given that he researched and wrote the script during a much different time--when the Dow was unstoppable. The sequel will now, no doubt, come under pressure to answer for Wall Street's crimes.

In any case, Oliver Stone and Michael Douglas captured one era of corporate excess better than anyone else. Can they do the same for this one?

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