Entertainment behind the scenes
There is something slightly surreal about talking with an up-and-coming Hollywood star about the intricacies of trading on Wall Street. In an interview with Shia LaBeouf for his role in Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”, that’s exactly what happened.
The 23-year-old, most famous for the successful “Transformers” franchise, plays Jake Moore, an idealistic and successful financial trader who comes up against Michael Douglas’s ruthless Gordon Gekko and an equally formidable Bretton James (played by Josh Brolin) in Stone’s update of his 1987 hit “Wall Street”.
To research his role, LaBeouf met financial titans like George Soros and Warren Buffett, but also dealers just starting out in the cut-throat world of banking and investment, in order to be ready for the part.
“I think just out of necessity for the film and for my confidence, you know, just to be able to look Brolin in the eye and feel like I wasn’t going to melt, I had to feel like I was really trading and he was acting,” he said in the seaside cabins at the exclusive Hotel du Cap just outside Cannes. He quickly earned a reputation among other members of the cast for his knack with numbers after making quick profits on a reasonably small outlay as part of his training. Douglas said LaBeouf increased his initial investment 10-fold.
The 2009 Cannes film festival reaches its finale on Sunday night when the coveted Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) trophy is awarded to the best film among the 20 in competition. That movie, and current frontrunner is French movie “Un Prophete” (“A Prophet”) will likely find success in theaters around the world.
But critics have been widely mixed with their reaction to the overall slate of films screening at Cannes this year (read a wrap up here). The lack of a clear thumbs up, or thumbs down, also has been a hallmark of the Cannes’ movie market in 2009, where buyers and sellers of film rights from around the world meet to do business. Read about that, here. And while 3D films were a big part of Cannes after the festival opened with Disney’s animated “Up,” the reality is that for independent filmmakers, making a 3D film is a mixed (there’s that word again) proposition. For that story, clicke here.
Sure, Penelope Cruz will be on the Cannes film festival’s red carpet, and Brad Pitt will be there too. But the festival is not all big stars and glamorous premieres. There’s real business that goes on, too. Buyers and sellers of rights to independently made movies — those made outside Hollywood’s major studios — meet up to do deals.
For the past few years, the indie film business has been in a funk as a glut of expensive movies failed to do big box office and, more recently, the global financial crisis dried up financing to make movies. But major players here say tough times could be nearing and end. While film promotional parties are down, the ranks of company staffs in Cannes are thinner, and restaurateurs and hoteliers have said business is down some 30 percent, many company executives say they have been pleased with the amount of business that has been done.