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Film exposes Wall St. crisis secrets

posted 17 May 2011, 10:45 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 17 May 2011, 10:48 ]
A new HBO film reveals behind the scenes drama in the decision to bail out the financial sector during the global meltdown of 2008.
USA-TOO BIG TO FAIL - "The deal is hanging by a thread because the closer they get to Lehman the more it looks like a toxic waste dump"

That's actor William Hurt in the role of former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson- in a pivotal scene before the fall of Lehman Brothers, from the new HBO film "Too Big To Fail". It's a behind the scenes look at the

meltdown of the financial markets in 2008- and the events that led to the collapse of Lehman Brothers and AIG.

Producer Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote the book on which the film is based:


"We didn't even realize how bad it was but I think once I started doing the work and what this picture does and what the book has done is really peel back the onion and I think we were on the precipice of something. We don't even appreciate how bad it was with what the other side of that cliff looked like."

What many at the time did not realize, is how fragile the situation really was- and how a few key decisions by a handful of people, in a short period of time, changed history, preventing the so-called Great Recession from becoming the second Great Depression.


"I think we were looking at really something like 25 percent unemployment in this country. So when we sit around today and we go, ten percent unemployment, seems pretty bad, it is pretty bad, but on a relative basis to where we were about to go I think it's actually quite extraordinary."

The film also gives viewers an inside look at the key players- many of whom remain mysteries.

Actor Paul Giamatti had the challenge of portraying Fed Chief Ben Bernanke.


"I really didn't know how you would play this guy, he's a very tricky man to read, he doesn't give much away at all. So I thought that would be interesting, to see, to try and figure out how to play a guy like that behind the scenes and is he like that all the time. And I met him and he kind of is like that all the time."

Too big to fail premieres on HBO on May 23rd.

Bobbi Rebell, Reuters.