Michelle Pfeiffer will tackle the role of Bernie Madoff's wife, Ruth while De Niro will take on the challenging role of Bernie Madoff in HBO's forthcoming, "Wizard Of Lies". Shooting has already begun and rumors suggest HBO is looking towards late 2016 or early 2017 to air. This comes as no surprise to her fans who last heard she had been offered a comedic TV pilot produced by Yahoo Newswoman, Katie Couric, set in the behind-the-scenes world of morning news programs. I hate to say it because I love both Pfeiffer and Couric, but thankfully that project went nowhere (though it first became known to the world on April 1st, 2015, so it may not have been real in the first place.)
Shifting to dramatic roles on television have certainly seemed to pave the way for actresses such as Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Viola Davis to massive success. In 2012, Julianne Moore's portrayal of Sarah Palin in the HBO Films biopic, "Game Change" set the stage for her to win not only the Emmy but also the Golden Globe for Best Actress in miniseries or made-for-TV movie. Some would say it even lit the path for her to win the Oscar in 2015 for "Still Alice." Let's hope this TV movie does the same for Miss Pfeiffer who has three Oscar nods to her name but no wins, which many consider to be a gross injustice by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
"Wizard Of Lies" follows the infamous true story of real-life convicted criminal and former financier, Bernie Madoff, who managed to swindle friends, relatives, and other investors out of 65 Billion dollars, including famous names such as Kevin Bacon and Steven Spielberg. It is based on a book of the same name by Diana B. Henriques. Amazon describes the book as so,
"A true-life financial thriller, The Wizard of Lies contrasts Madoff's remarkable rise on Wall Street with dramatic scenes from his accelerating slide toward self-destruction. It is also the most complete account of the heartbreaking personal disasters and landmark legal battles triggered by Madoff's downfall--the suicides, business failures, fractured families, shuttered charities--and the clear lessons this timeless scandal offers to Washington, Wall Street, and Main Street."
I'm getting chills just thinking about it. I can't wait to see how Michelle will tackle the moment where Ruth and Bernie attempted suicide together, and knowing HBO, it will almost certainly be a prominent moment in the film along with the suicide of the Madoff's eldest son, Mark, in 2010 and the lymphoma caused death of their youngest, Andrew in 2014 . Ruth Madoff vanished from the limelight following her husband's arrest and conviction, her current whereabouts are up for debate though it is believed she still resides in New York.
HBO isn't the first company to invest in bringing the Madoff scandal to life, ABC is preparing to release their own miniseries about the largest financial fraud in US History entitled "Madoff". It will co-star Richard Dreyfuss as Bernie and Blythe Danner as Ruth. ABC has it slated to premiere early in 2016. I think both pairings look exquisite, have a look below and compare for yourself. Which pair looks more like the Madoffs? More importantly, which one will make more money and get more attention? My bet's on HBO. You can never bet against HBO, that'd be like betting against Disney for Best Animated Feature every year from now until the end of time.
Robert De Niro, at a completely unbelievable 72, has several projects to look forward to in the coming months such as "The Intern" alongside Anne Hathaway, "Bus 657" with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and "Joy" reuniting him with "Silver Linings Playbook" co-star, Jennifer Lawrence. After "Wizard Of Lies" De Niro will add to his impressive resume of 105 credits, with films such as "Dirty Grandpa", "Hands Of Stone" and the currently untitled Freddie Mercury biopic. De Niro, widely considered to be one of the greatest actors of our time, has two Oscars to his credit for "Raging Bull" and "The Godfather: Part 2" In 2011, he was presented with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment at the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards.
Michelle's last acting credit is 2013's mixed received "The Family" directed by Luc Besson and produced by Martin Scorsese. "Wizard Of Lies" will mark Pfeiffer's fourth pairing with De Niro after 2007 blockbuster "Stardust", 2011's Garry Marshall directed "New Year's Eve", and Besson's "The Family" and will also mark her first foray into a major television movie. She recently returned from Rome where she had been taking some personal time to follow her second passion: painting. This is not the first time Pfeiffer has slipped from the limelight, between 2003 and 2007, she didn't work at all due to her desire to stay home with her husband and children.
Isn't she excellent? I'm certain the world would still know her presence even if she were not the phenomenal actress she is today. "Portraits by Pfeiffer" does have a certain ring to it, does it not?
The pairing of De Niro and Pfeiffer comes as no real shock to those who saw the enviable chemistry they portrayed in "The Family" Without a doubt, this film will follow suit and hopefully help Michelle Pfeiffer re-establish herself as a mainstream actress and claim that Oscar she so deserved to win back in 1989 for "The Fabulous Baker Boys" Also, the one she deserved for "Love Field" and "Dangerous Liaisons"
And hey, even if it doesn't, we'll always have the exemplary Tim Burton feature "Batman Returns" where Michelle turned heads and again, really deserved an Oscar, as Selina Kyle/Catwoman. A role that no matter what her future, will forever place Michelle Pfeiffer among the Hollywood greats such as Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Joan Crawford, as an iconic movie legend.