Infamous director Oliver Stone is known for his liberal stance on almost every political issue. While he’s covered events in all-too-recent history — such as “World Trade Center” and “W.”, his biographical look at former president George W. Bush — Stone now takes on the freshest wound of all by revisiting a topic he covered more than 20 years ago with “Wall Street.” We chatted with Stone about its timely sequel, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” starring Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko and Shia LaBeouf as his new protege.
In contrast to the original 1987 film, what did you have to do to give “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” a modern sensibility?
That’s a 10-minute answer! Things like computers, globalization — and the banking system is on steroids. It’s crazy. Banks were kind of dull back in the 1980s. They were not doing these kinds of deals that they were in 2000. They got into the debt business big time. They drove the economy into the tank. Living beyond our means overall, not just the banks, but the people, ourselves.
This film — like “World Trade Center” and “W.” — is being released right after a historical event, whereas earlier in your career with films like “JFK” and “Nixon,” there was a longer period of gestation and historical analysis on the topic at hand.
“W.”, for Christ’s sake, we had so many ears on that guy. Remember, the movie ends in 2004. It was released about four years later. It was also about his early life, which has been much documented. My concern at that time was, how did he become president, and what kind of character is he, and how did that kind of person become president at the end? It was the nightmare of my life.
You don’t often make a cameo in your films, so why this one?
I wanted to give Shia, who’s a young man, the sense that he had older friends, people with some heft and weight and money. He had to have some richer friends, older connections. I grabbed the role, small role. Like it?
Yeah, I loved it.
You liked the earring and all that s—? I’m embarrassed.
Was the earring your idea?
I got a little bit crazy, but I guess, I don’t know, if you liked it, you liked it.
You’ve never made a sequel to any of your other films. Is there a reason for that?
If I wanted to do a real sequel, I would’ve done it in the ’90s, because most of the people would’ve remembered the original and I probably would’ve done it better. But if there’s a whole new generation, I don’t think you need to know the old film at all to appreciate it. To me it was more about going back to a subject which I know a little bit about. And at the same time, dealing with a whole new era.