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Milos Forman To Tackle First Financial World Scam Artist In 'Ponzi's Scheme'

by Kevin Jagernauth
April 27, 2011 1:45 AM
3 Comments
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It's been quite a while since we last heard from legendary director Milos Forman. His last effort was the not-so-well received "Goya's Ghosts" way back in 2006 but it looks like the man behind "One Flew Over's The Cuckoo's Next," "Loves Of A Blonde," and "Amadeus" isn't done yet and pushing eighty years old, he's still looking to make another run behind the camera, with an interesting take on the financial crisis dramas that seems to be pouring out of Hollywood.

Variety reports that Forman is in talks to chronicle the original scumbag con artist, Charles Ponzi, whose name now describes the shell game played by folks like Bernie Madoff. The film will be based on Mitchell Zuckoff's book "Ponzi's Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend" with a script penned by Christopher Weekes. If that name doesn't ring a bell, perhaps you'll recall his Black List winning Jim Henson biopic script "Muppet Man;" it's a wildly ambitious script that sidesteps the notions of the genre by adding hallucinations and dream sequences featuring the Muppet characters, suggesting a sideways goal of making a new Muppet movie by inserting them into the moribund celebrity biopic genre. But as much as we'd love to see it, that project is currently on hold.

Anyway, back to "Ponzi's Scheme"-- this film will tell the story of the original Italian immigrant who came to America in 1903 looking for his piece of the American dream and quickly developed one shady get-rich-quick scheme after another, eventually developing the method of using new investors to pay off old investors that has become synonymous with large scale fraud. As is usually the case, his misdeeds eventually caught up with him.

Sounds like a great take on the whole financial world issue that is at least coming from a different angle from the rest of the productions out there. What better way to get to the heart of the matter than to go back to where it all started. No word yet on when this might start but we hope it all comes together. Check out the Amazon description of the book below:

Before Charles Ponzi (1882â€"1949) sailed from Italy to the shores of America in 1903, his father assured him that the streets were really paved with gold - and that Ponzi would be able to get a piece. As journalist Zuckoff observes in this engaging and fast-paced biography, Ponzi learned as soon as he disembarked that though the streets were often cobblestone, he could still make a fortune in a culture caught in the throes of the Gilded Age. Zuckoff deftly chronicles Ponzi's mercurial rise and fall as he conjured up one get-rich-quick scheme after another. Charming, gregarious and popular, Ponzi devised and carried out the scheme that carries his name in 1920 in the open (and with a brief period of approval from Boston's newspapers and financial sector). Many investors did indeed double their investments, as Ponzi would use money of new investors to pay old investors, and Ponzi himself became a millionaire. Eventually, Zuckoff shows, the Boston Post uncovered this "robbing Peter to pay Paul" system (as it was then known), and Ponzi's life unraveled. Zuckoff provides not only a definitive portrait of Ponzi's life but also insights into immigrant life and the social world of early 20th-century Boston.
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3 Comments

  • E. Blair | April 28, 2011 8:03 AMReply

    Milos said he thought Ponzi was the first financial world con artist? I missed that part.

  • Alien | April 27, 2011 11:43 AMReply

    Wow, this film sounds like it will be fascina-- zzzZZZzzZZZzz....

  • Todd | April 27, 2011 3:08 AMReply

    Ponzi the first financial world con artist? Someone should tell Milos about John Law, the Scottish financial con-artist of the early 18th Century. The "Mississippi Bubble" anyone?

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