Wizard Of Lies, HBO’s movie about the rise and fall (but mostly the fall) of Bernie Madoff, has been in the works at HBO Films for a while now, with Robert De Niro set to play the Ponzi scheme wizard. The network optioned the rights to the book by Diana Henriques back in 2011; at the time, John Burnham Schwartz (Reservation Road) was tapped to write the script, but two years later HBO brought in writer Sam Baum and acquired the rights to Laurie Sandell’s book Truth And Consequences as additional source material. (Hey, if you’re going to make a movie about a powerful white dude taking advantage of other people, you want to do it right.) HBO decided to take some more time with the project, bringing in a third writer, Sam Levinson, to tackle the script. Levinson, Baum, and Schwartz are all credited as the film’s writers.
And finally, two books and three writers later, it looks like it’s all systems go for Wizards Of Lies, which will look at the aftermath of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme as well as how he pulled off the $65 billion scam. Michelle Pfeiffer has been cast opposite De Niro as Madoff’s wife Ruth, and Alessandro Nivola will play Madoff’s older son Mark. Barry Levinson is attached to direct. Levinson previously directed You Don’t Know Jack for HBO Films, starring Al Pacino as Jack Kevorkian.
While HBO has been busy getting all of its ducks in a row for Wizard Of Lies, ABC has been busy trying to beat them to the punch, fast-tracking Madoff, a miniseries about Bernie Madoff set to air next year that stars Richard Dreyfuss in the titular role and Blythe Danner as Ruth Madoff.