Two things occur to me when I read the news that Shia LeBeouf may co-star in the upcoming “Wall Street 2,” which is set to reunite Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko and Oliver Stone as director.
First, there’s the idea of LeBeouf playing “the young guy” this time, since obviously you’re not going to bring back Charlie Sheen. The thing that worked about the first one was the idea of a young idealist stepping into the cutthroat world of ’80s greed and getting the guided tour by Gordon Gekko, played by Douglas with the scumbag turned up to 11. And if the sequel is going to work at showing us how things have changed, Gekko still makes perfect sense as a tour guide, but you have to have some new fresh-faced kid fresh off the bus, and LeBeouf seems like the right guy for the job. Over the last few years, Steven Spielberg has taken a personal interest in building Shia’s career, and the results have launched the young actor onto the A-list. Sometimes, when a “movie star” arrives all pre-packaged and pre-digested, the public wants no part of them. I think it’ll be interesting to see what happens when they get a look at Sam Worthington in “Terminator: Salvation.” But with Shia, the kid’s got such a great easy onscreen charisma that I think he’s worth the hype, and I suspect this move away from the protection of Spielberg will be a good one for him overall.
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The second thing that strikes me is that Oliver Stone is making a sequel to one of his own movies, and that’s just plain strange. Stone’s always been a mercurial talent, and I never got the idea that the whole sequel/remake/reboot thing was anything he wanted to be part of. Still, out of all of his films (with the completely ridiculous exception of “The Hand,” which should have been a 37-film franchise), “Wall Street” actually makes the most sense to sequelize. At least, right now, it does. We’re at a moment where the financial world is very much on everyone’s minds, and if Stone and his screenwriters (Stephen Schiff was the original writer, and Allan Loeb did the most recent rewrite) are able to do find a dramatic way to deal with the plundering of our economic system by pirate assholes like Gekko, then it could turn out to be not just relevant but also hugely commercial. I’m intrigued. Loeb’s a great writer (I’m quite taken with his “The Only Living Boy In New York” script), and whatever he wrote was able to get Stone to sign on after passing earlier.
If you’d like some idea of what to expect with the film, check out Latino Review’s recent piece about the script. We’ll be paying attention to this one, and I hope it turns out to be the film that makes Oliver Stone both relevant and popular again.
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