Page last updated at 14:26 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 15:26 UK

Financial crisis comes to Cannes

By Mark Savage
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Richard Hains
Writer Richard Hains runs a substantial private hedge fund with his brothers

A thriller based around the current financial crisis is being touted as the "next Wall Street" in Cannes.

Chameleon, based on a novel by hedge fund manager Richard Hains, tells the story of a trader forced to flee New York after a dodgy deal goes wrong.

The screenplay transposes the book's plot to June 2008 and the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers.

Hains said his film could tell the true story of Wall Street corruption because "the story comes from an insider."

"I buy and sell financial markets on an hourly basis," he told the BBC.

However, the story is not a dry dissection of bear markets and share indices - with Hains aiming for a "Bourne-style" action thriller.

"Russian gangsters get involved," he said. "It ends up with a series of bodies littered across a variety of continents, with people all trying to chase a very large amount of money before the investment bank collapses."

'Storm clouds'

The writer also used his 20 years of experience to expose the "greed and vanity" of the financial community.

"In the latter part of 2007, the storm clouds were gathering, and you could see the indulgences, the excesses, the vast liquidity that was being thrown at the financial markets was creating some early problems," he said.

"I didn't necessarily feel as though I knew where it was going but it certainly rang a few bells, and those were bells of concern."

Michael Douglas
Michael Douglas is set to film a sequel to Wall Street

A sequel to Wall Street, with Michael Douglas reprising his role as the slimy Gordon Gekko, was recently announced by 20th Century Fox, as film companies scramble to reflect the economic downturn.

Director Oliver Stone, who made the first movie, has also agreed to work on the sequel, which is yet to secure a release date.

Hains shurgged off the competition, saying: "There's been a lot of talk... but to my knowledge the script hasn't been written, so it's a long way off."

The writer, whose novel was nominated for the National Book Awards in the US, has spent a week in Cannes meeting potential directors and leading men for the film adaptation.

But he said he had found very few similarities between the financial world and movie making.

"In the film industry, you start with a concept and you actually make it. With the markets, it's all just packaging - you're servicing a client's interests.

"The film industry reminds me more of the mining industry. Everything is tough, nobody's got any money and everyone's hustling."



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