Looks as if fellow legendary actors Robert De Niro and Al Pacino must have had lunch together recently, because De Niro could follow in Pacino’s footsteps by playing a notorious real-life individual for an HBO movie. Perhaps hearing good things from Pacino about his work on “You Don’t Know Jack,” where he walked away with a Best Actor Golden Globe for playing assisted suicide advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian, it was announced back in May (something we missed due to the crush of Cannes) that De Niro was in negotiations to play Ponzi scheme enthusiast Bernie Madoff in HBO’s adaptation of the bestselling “The Wizard Of Lies: Bernie Madoff And The Death Of Trust.”
As Deadline now reports, the film has just found its writer in John Burnham Schwartz, who’s best known for penning the book and co-writing the screenplay for the 2007 drama “Reservation Road.” Schwartz has come aboard to give the project a dose of momentum, as he is set to write the script based on author Diane Henriques’ non-fiction book, which attracted the attention of HBO when it debuted at number ten on the The New York Times bestseller list back in May. For those who don’t know, “The Wizard Of Lies: Bernie Madoff And The Death Of Trust” recounts the life of Bernie Madoff, a notorious swindler who concocted a $65-billion dollar Ponzi scheme that would ruin the lives of many and garner him a 150 year prison sentence at a North Carolina correctional facility in 2009.
As previously mentioned with “You Don’t Know Jack,” HBO has a knack for taking these sort of high profile projects and making them must-see television, so we have faith that “The Wizard of Lies” will at the very least be worth a watch. As for the involvement of De Niro, the actor could maybe use a prestige project like this to keep up his clout, but he had a fine turn in “Limitless” this year, and upcoming crowd pleaser “New Year's Eve” will keep this always reliable actor in the public eye. As for the involvement of Schwartz, this writer particularly didn’t care for “Reservation Road,” but then again the guy hasn’t done too much else so he deserves another shot.
As the film is still in the development stages, there’s no telling yet when it’ll bow on the pay cable channel, but we’d guess you’ll know when De Niro is nominated for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television.”