GOTHAM: How were you able to incorporate the financial crash into Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps?
OLIVER STONE: The background was the crash. We set out to do a drama about people and relationships in New York City in the 2008 period. We came up with a story that incorporated Gordon Gekko and a new young man played by Shia LeBouf, who’s an investment banker. Times have changed. Gekko’s been in jail. He comes out looking for a connection to the power base, doesn’t have one and struggles to get one. It becomes an interesting story about how an old timer who’s out of fashion manages to weave his way back in using his daughter, played by Carey Mulligan, and his potential son-in-law.

Is the current administration doing enough to reform Wall Street?
Much of the crisis was caused by the regulation agencies not doing their jobs. The new reforms would help, but the role of banking itself has come into question. Without the basic Glass-Steagall Act, which was reformed in ’98, you’ve got to separate these banks from investment banks, from commercial banks. It just has to be. Otherwise they’re going to be trading for themselves, and that seems to be a huge issue.

Which do you prefer more—producing, writing or directing?
I think the three stages are exciting. The writing is a coming together of the idea—working it all out on paper structurally by trying to maximize the appeal and minimize the damage. The production, the acting out of it, is extraordinary and intense. And the editing is like cutting the harvest, but it’s very tough because generally you grow a lot during the production and then during the editing process you have to cut it way back and try to fit it into a package. [Then] there’s this new stage called marketing, which brings out another set of characters. They spend as much money on marketing or more than they do on the film. It’s totally divorced from the process…but it’s the most important selling stage.

Any regrets?
[Out of] every one of my films, I never regretted a single one. I really enjoyed making them and I learned something from each and every one. I can remember what my life was like any given year from the film I made.

Like what you're reading? Get it delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up now for our newsletters >>