Gordon Gekko revisitedSeptember 8, 2010: 1:45 PM ET
There's a lot of deja vu in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, the upcoming sequel to Wall Street, which came out in 1987.
At a Fortune-hosted screening last night in Manhattan, we revisited Gordon Gekko, who is now grayer but just as lizardy. (Michael Douglas, 23 years later, is at his most slithery.)
Greed is still good, Gekko tells us, "but now it's legal." Free after eight years in prison, he's back trading for his own account, so to speak. "Money's a bitch that never sleeps," he says demonically in the sequel.
Charlie Sheen returns as Bud Fox--in a cameo, one in a lineup that includes Warren Buffett, CNBC's Maria Bartiromo and Becky Quick, and Fortune Managing Editor Andy Serwer. (Donald Trump's cameo ended up on the cutting room floor, the film's director, Oliver Stone, told Serwer in an on-stage interview after the screening.)
Meanwhile, in this new Wall Street, Gekko finds a new crop of youth to mesmerize and corrupt. Feigning rehabilitation, he tells a group of young people: "You're in the NINJA generation. No income. No jobs. No assets."
Stone, the famously leftie director, hasn't changed much either. When asked his view of capitalism today, he responded: "Socialism for the rich." That's Stone's view of the government's bank bailouts. While the faces of evil on Wall Street have changed, he contends, the game hasn't. Now the stakes are just a lot bigger.
Well, even Stone couldn't deny that one thing has radically changed since his original Wall Street. Check out this ad--a Motorola (MOT) ad--that's on the back of a mock Fortune cover that appeared in the 1987 film. One day last year when I ran into Michael Douglas at lunch, he offered to sign my vintage cover. Looking at this ad on the back, he and I both realized how far we've come--at least in terms of "the best-selling hand-held cellular portable on earth."