HBO plans TV movie on 2008 financial meltdown

POSTED: Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 5:34pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:53am

LOS ANGELES – HBO plans to make a television movie about the 2008 financial meltdown, based on the book "Too Big to Fail" by a New York Times journalist, the cable network said on Thursday.

Andrew Sorkin's book chronicles the credit crisis by focusing on such figures as Richard Fuld, former chief executive of the now-bankrupt investment bank Lehman Brothers, John Mack, former CEO of Morgan Stanley, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and his predecessor Henry Paulson.

HBO, owned by Time Warner, had no details on when the TV movie is expected to air, or which actors would play the principal parts.

The movie version of the financial crisis is expected to bear similarities to HBO's 2008 TV movie "Recount," which also dramatized recent events — in that case the disputed 2000 U.S. presidential election and recount of votes in Florida.

The financial crisis continues to resonate in U.S. politics with many Americans irate at the billions of dollars in government bailouts for companies that were deemed "too big to fail," including insurance giant American International Group Inc and automaker General Motors.

Movie critic Pete Hammond said that with Oliver Stone's sequel to his searing 1987 movie "Wall Street" due out this year, a big audience could await HBO's project.

"Normally I would say this kind of subject matter would be a big yawn, but there's going to be a lot of interest out there about what really went on" during the credit crisis, said Hammond, who writes for the Los Angeles Times website.

HBO said Sorkin's "Too Big to Fail" will be adapted for TV by Peter Gould, who has written episodes of the methamphetamine drama series "Breaking Bad" for cable network AMC.

HBO had hoped to rely on a book about the financial crisis by New York Times journalist Joe Nocera and Vanity Fair writer Bethany McClean, but that book has not yet been published.

Once it comes out, the material from that book is expected to be melded into the HBO movie.

The full title of Sorkin's book is "Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System — and Themselves." Penguin Group's division Viking Adult published the book.