Actor Michael Douglas has filmed a new public service announcement for the FBI that plays on his character Gordon Gekko from the film "Wall Street."
In 1987, Douglas won an Oscar for his portrayal of the fictional Gekko. Douglas and writer-director Oliver Stone constructed the villainous Gekko character as a cautionary tale of the excesses of corporate greed. But in the quarter century since the film's release, Gekko's infamous "greed is good" speech has become a rallying cry of many working on Wall Street.
But now, Douglas is playing on the character's fame to warn about the dangers of insider trading. The PSA begins with a clip from "Wall Street" before transitioning to a present-day Douglas, who says:
"Hello, I'm Michael Douglas. In the movie 'Wall Street,' I played Gordon Gekko, a greedy corporate executive who cheated to profit while innocent investors lost their savings.
"The movie was fiction, but the problem is real. Our economy is increasingly dependent on the success and the integrity of the financial markets. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is."
FBI Special Agent David Chaves tells Bloomberg News that Douglas wanted to do something to help combat what he sees as a misguided culture on Wall Street. Chaves says Douglas told him people working on Wall Street often approach him, offering a "high-five" for his portrayal of Gekko.
"We thought one of the most revered actors of our time would be a great voice for combating crime on Wall Street," Chaves said.
An often-overlooked fact from "Wall Street" is that the Gekko character never says the phrase, "greed is good." While passionately arguing for a business structure in which corporations are operated by the actual shareholders who have a direct stake in the company, Gekko declares, "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good."
This is also not the first time Douglas has revisited the Gekko character. In 2010, Douglas and Stone reunited for a "Wall Street" sequel. While critics praised Douglas' performance (he was nominated for a Golden Globe for best supporting actor), the film was largely considered a critical and commercial disappointment.
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