CANNES -- Director Oliver Stone's Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, which made its debut here at the Cannes Film Festival, provided an easy segue into personal finance during interview rounds this week. WalletPop pounced on the chance by asking Stone, a three-time Oscar winner, what financial advice his stockbroker father Louis gave him.
"Don't tell the truth," Stone answered at the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc. "He said, 'Never tell the truth. It will only get you in trouble.' My father was a believer, as were many in the 1950s, of keeping a low profile, which I didn't pay much attention to obviously."
That appeared to be Stone's roundabout way of saying that keeping one's portfolio and strategy to one's self is a good investment in one's privacy. "He was a part of the gray flannel suit generation, very much staying anonymous. Don't talk."
Stone went on to say that his dad peddled stocks and bonds for 54 years until just six months before his death in 1985. To the end, his father kept to himself, embodying "that workhorse generation of the quiet man," Stone said.
The Nixon and Platoon maker wasn't about to remain silent on the economy. If Stone is correct, we probably oughta keep clipping coupons and taking the bus. He said President Obama was a smart man but no matter how sound his policies, actual reform has gotten harder through the decades. Money and other powerful interests are natural-born killers of reform.
"The banks have taken control and when they do it's not to help the common good," Stone said. "It's just to keep the system going so they can make more money."
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, the followup to Stone's 1987 original, is the new materialism writ large, full of alpha knuckleheads whom we pray will get their comeuppance.
Would the quiet man have given his thumbs up?
Said Stone: "My father would have been proud of it but he would have snickered at a few things."
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