Posted on Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 by Angie Han
Michael Lewis isn’t a Hollywood guy per se, but he has been behind a couple of big recent hits. Best Picture nominees The Blind Side and Moneyball were both based on books of his, and movies based on his tomes Liar’s Poker and The Big Short are both in the works.
Now Sony and producer Scott Rudin are getting close to picking up his latest bestseller, Flash Boys. The tome centers around a group of Wall Street guys who, dismayed to realize how rigged the stock market is, band together to reform their industry. Think of it as the anti-Wolf of Wall Street. More details after the jump.
Lewis’s Flash Boys looks at high-frequency trading and the people who made it their mission to render the practice impotent. I’m no good at explaining the financial industry, so I’ll let the book’s official synopsis take it from here:
Flash Boys is about a small group of Wall Street guys who figure out that the U.S. stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders and that, post–financial crisis, the markets have become not more free but less, and more controlled by the big Wall Street banks. Working at different firms, they come to this realization separately; but after they discover one another, the flash boys band together and set out to reform the financial markets. This they do by creating an exchange in which high-frequency trading—source of the most intractable problems—will have no advantage whatsoever.
The characters in Flash Boys are fabulous, each completely different from what you think of when you think “Wall Street guy.” Several have walked away from jobs in the financial sector that paid them millions of dollars a year. From their new vantage point they investigate the big banks, the world’s stock exchanges, and high-frequency trading firms as they have never been investigated, and expose the many strange new ways that Wall Street generates profits.
The light that Lewis shines into the darkest corners of the financial world may not be good for your blood pressure, because if you have any contact with the market, even a retirement account, this story is happening to you. But in the end, Flash Boys is an uplifting read. Here are people who have somehow preserved a moral sense in an environment where you don’t get paid for that; they have perceived an institutionalized injustice and are willing to go to war to fix it.
As Deadline, who reported the Flash Boys movie deal, puts it, the heroes of the story “are the kind of guys who would have hated Jordan Belfort.”
Lewis’ book hit shelves on March 31, just one day before news broke that the FBI was looking into whether high-frequency trading broke insider trading laws. The agency’s investigation launched before Flash Boys hit shelves, but the timing of the announcement couldn’t help but draw more attention to the issue.
Rudin is producing the Flash Boys movie with Eli Bush, who previously worked with him on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Captain Phillips, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. This is Rudin’s second time producing a Lewis adaptation for Sony; he was also behind Moneyball.