The Wizard of Lies debuts a new dramatic trailer, bringing the story behind the operator of a Ponzi scheme that is considered to be the largest financial fraud in American history to HBO. The former stockbroker, investment advisor, and financier turned financial schemer Bernard “Bernie” Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in federal prison, with a projected release date is November 14, 2139, after pleading guilty to 11 federal felonies and creating billions of dollars in losses for investors in his Ponzi scheme. The scheme spanned from the ’90s, though federal investigators believed the fraud to have begun as far back as the ’70s.
With HBO examining the epic rise and fall of Bernie Madoff, from how the crimes were committed all the way through sentencing, actor Robert De Niro will star as the con artist as well as executive produce. De Niro is no stranger to playing crooked characters and rose to fame with a string of mafia crime roles in The Godfather Part II, The Untouchables, and Goodfellas. Actress Michelle Pfeiffer will portray Madoff’s wife, Ruth. The film looks to explore more of how the Madoff family was affected by Bernie’s grand scheming, as well as the ins and outs of the fraud and subsequent courtroom drama.
The drama also stars Alessandro Nivola, Nathan Darrow, Kristen Connolly, Lily Rabe and Hank Azaria. Based on a non-fiction novel of the same name by Diana B. Henriques, the book was adapted for film by Sam Levinson, Sam Baum, and John Burnham Schwartz. Additional source material was developed from Laurie Sandell’s Truth and Consequences. De Niro and Levinson serve as executive producer alongside Jane Rosenthal, Berry Welsh and Tom Fontana.
With De Niro’s extensive acting history and caliber of talent, including Academy award wins for The Godfather Part II and Raging Bull, there’s no better actor for the role of Bernie Madoff. HBO, oldest and longest operating pay television service, has proved a master of original programming as well, with a long list of hit films and television series like Game of Thrones.
Despite the impressive cast and tense drama depicted in the trailer, though, the investment scandal centered at the film’s core began in 1990s. With the scandal happening so long ago, it may be difficult to discern audience interest in the story. The true appeal, however, may be the within the Madoff family itself, as it was initially Madoff’s sons who reported Bernie to the authorities. That has to sting.
The Wizard of Lies will debut on Saturday, May 20 on HBO.