More than two decades have zoomed by since Oliver Stone's blockbuster film Wall Street appeared on theatre screens across America, capturing the go-go 80s and the era's money-must-be-made vibe.
Michael Douglas is back in his iconic, Oscar-winning role as Gordon Gekko, known for originating the 80s mantra "Greed is good." Emerging from a long time in the slammer, Gekko is back but the former corporate raider is a stranger in the world he once dominated.
"I once said, 'Greed is good.' Now it seems it's legal," Douglas's voice says hauntingly in the opening of the film's trailer.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps also was created by Oliver Stone, whose father was a stockbroker. Stone told The Huffington Post the banking crisis prompted him to make the sequel, saying that the bankers "pulled off the biggest heist of all time and top of that, they got billions in the bailout."
When asked what has changed about Wall Street in the past few decades, Stone replied in a video shown on Yahoo! Tech Ticker, "I think banks became what Gekko was in the 1980s. Greed became greed plus envy [which] gave us more and more and more. As Gekko in the film says, 'greed is now legal' in the sense that the banks were doing what he was doing back then and he went to jail."
Shia LaBeouf takes over the Charlie Sheen role of the Wall Street wannabe mover and shaker and LaBeouf took it seriously. The young leading man spent time with real bankers and traders. He even invested his own money, according to Stacy Curtin, who writes for Yahoo! Tech Ticker.
"First thing I did was I took $20,000 out," LaBeouf said. "[I] went down to the Schwab office in Encino [California]. Walked in, said, 'Hey, I know nothing. I am making this movie.'"
LaBeouf said he traded every day and hung out with Donald Trump and other financial bigwigs. Today he has grown the original $20,000 to an eye-popping $650,000. That would probably be chump change to Gordon Gekko. As A.O. Scott wrote in his New York Times review of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, "Surely, if anyone can give us a good angle on the madness of the present, it would be this guy."