Oliver Stone On Gordon Gekko

With 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps' released on DVD, the Academy Award-winning writer-director talks about revisiting one of his most famous creations
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With 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps' released on DVD, the Academy Award-winning writer-director talks about revisiting one of his most famous creations

On being a big fan of the bad guy... - I've always liked Gekko. I don't like all of the things he does - I despise many of them - but he has certain qualities I admire. He's a fighter and that's interesting to me. And he has actually made his money, albeit through questionable means - his isn't inherited wealth. He's also a lot of fun to write for. He can say the unsayable and he can do it a very entertaining way. "Greed is good" - lines like that are rare and so are the characters who say them.

On the man behind the red braces, Michael Douglas... - Michael wasn't my first choice for Gekko [Richard Gere and Warren Beatty were Stone's preferred choices] but now it's hard to imagine anyone else playing the part. Things didn't go smoothly during the shoot, though. His first day on set, Michael was having real trouble remembering his dialogue. I visited him in his trailer and asked him if this was the first time he'd acted. He got a lot better after that.

It's a very personal film for me. My father was a stockbroker. He's in the film, or at least, there's a little of him in Gekko

On the original Wall Street... - It's a very personal film for me. My father was a stockbroker. He's in the film, or at least, there's a little of him in Gekko and a lot of him in Lou Mannheim, the role Hal Holbrook plays. And being both a son and a father, the relationship between Bud Fox [Charlie Sheen] and his dad [Martin Sheen] and his surrogate father Gekko resonates. But there were problems. I liked Daryl Hannah and I wanted her in the picture - she plays the part of Darien Taylor. But Sean Young, who was playing Gekko's wife Kate, came up to me on her first day on set and said, right in front of Daryl, "I AM Darien!" It was an incredibly unprofessional thing to do but, you know what, she was right! She was right!

On bringing Gekko back from the dead... - The circumstances were right to bring Gordon out of retirement, as it were. I felt he had a lot more to say. And redemption's always an attractive concept. The greedy man pointing up the sickening greed of society had a lot of pull. Is Gekko a man completely reborn? No, but that's what makes his message so much more potent. There aren't any saints any more, just flawed men. Owning up to those flaws and addressing them is as near as we get to nobility these days.

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Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.