He’s the king of the biopics, having aced movies about Goya, Mozart, Andy Kaufman and Larry Flynt, and now Milos Forman is turning his attention to Charles Ponzi, the man behind the most notorious, and it would seem seminal, financial scam of the 20th Century.
And I know that all sounds like a blurb from the back of a Blu-ray box, but I’m genuinely excited by this prospect. It’s the best news of the week for me.
Forman’s film will be adapted, Variety say, from Mitchell Zuckoff‘s book, Ponzi’s Scheme: The True Story Of A Financial Legend by screenwriter Christopher Weekes. He’s the guy who wrote Muppet Man, the unauthorized biopic of Jim Henson that I doubt we’ll ever see made into a film, as much as I wish we would.
Forman’s such a fine director, and Weekes such an exciting writer that it barely matters what Zuckoff’s book is like. Ponzi’s life was definitely full of interest, and his eponymous scam will make for great drama.
Here’s a brief description of what a Ponzi scheme is, courtesy of Wikipedia:
A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to separate investors, not from any actual profit earned by the organization, but from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors. The Ponzi scheme usually entices new investors by offering returns other investments cannot guarantee, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent. The perpetuation of the returns that a Ponzi scheme advertises and pays requires an ever-increasing flow of money from investors to keep the scheme going.
The system is destined to collapse because the earnings, if any, are less than the payments to investors.
When a newspaper called Ponzi’s business propositions into question, he successfully sued them for libel. He then engaged a PR man, but it wasn’t long until an investigation found him out. He fled on bail, adopted a disguise and… well, that would be telling. But there’s a lot of dramatic scenes in Ponzi’s life.
I’ll be keeping a very close eye on this one.
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