Investment Bankers Are the New Big Bads

Brit Marling brings finance world experience to Hollywood.

It’s true that the recession’s popped up with increasing frequency in pop culture, whether it’s the never-foreclose-on-a-gypsy horror of Drag Me to Hell, the recession-hits-the-freshly-minted-adult romcom Post-Grad, or the recession drama of Company Men. But for whatever reason, the investment bankers who helped trash the economy haven’t emerged as a major category of Big Bads in pop culture. That looks like it’s about to change.

First, there’s the casting call for a wives of Wall Street reality show, which should lay to rest any debates about whether reality television starring wealthy, empty women is aspirational or a vehicle for audiences to judge the self-appointed upper classes. There is something kind of perverse about the narratives that emerge in Too Big to Fail, among other places, that the avarice of investment bankers’ wives motivated them do progressively more aggressive things to jack up profits and fund their lifestyles. It’s not like these dudes were monks who married harpies. But that narrative should make for some awesome television schadenfreude.

Second and more interesting, Business Insider suggests that the next big thing, acting-wise, is Brit Marling, an ex-Goldman Sachs intern with an economics degree in Georgetown — and she’s starring in a movie that is a dramatization of the financial crisis. Richard Gere is playing an unscrupulous hedge funder trying to conceal how bad his books are as he sells his fund to a big bank. I have no idea if Marling had any input on the script, but she co-wrote and produced two other big movies, including the awesome-looking sci-fi moral parable Another Earth, so if those and her movie with Gere do well, she might be in a position to shape more stories. Given that she’s apparently descried her experience studying economics as “more about indoctrination than exploration,” it would be cool if she brings some of her finance world experience to bear. It’s true that Hollywood writers’ pools aren’t that diverse along race, gender, and class lines, but it’s important to get folks with different kinds of life and work experience in there, especially when it comes to these kinds of complex political and business stories.