In this age of disgusting financial misdeeds, it’s good to remember the roots of the art of big-time financial cons. So tip your hat to turn of the century shitbag Charles Ponzi, who refined a fraudulent scheme of creating the illusion of short-term gains by leveraging new investment to pay off other investors. He didn’t invent the con, but perpetrated it on a scale that was previously unheard of. The Ponzi scheme is basically a trademark financial con, and is the root of the scamming that led to the 2008 financial meltdown. Bernie Madoff ran basically the largest Ponzi Scheme ever, bilking people out of $21 billion.

And now Milos Forman, whose career has been seemingly close to dormant for a decade (though he’s never been the most prolific director, with three major films in the ’80s and two in the ’90s) is going to direct a film about Charles Ponzi. Read More »

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Christopher Weekes’ Muppet Man is an innovative and often surprising screenplay for a possible biopic of Jim Henson and when it was last week named the top pick of the Black List, I was certainly very pleased. Having said that, as much as I enjoyed the script, it was obvious from page one when reading it that actually getting the thing made would be something of an ordeal.

Problem one lies in the occasionally challenging imagery. The first scene, for example, sees Kermit wake up from a “drunken nightmare” to find an empty whisky bottle on the bed stand and “a three day growth giving his felt chin a strongly pronounced six o’clock shadow”. Kid’s fare? Maybe not – well, not unless cleverly and sensitively handled.

Problem two lies in the legal issues surrounding who owns the rights to what. Simply put, Disney owns the Muppets, but not the Man. The script was snapped up pretty much as soon as it hit the market by The Jim Henson Co. but, of course, they’re powerless to make anything with The Muppets in without somehow brokering a deal with Disney.

Add to this, then, the fact that Weekes hasn’t based his biopic on facts at all but – reportedly – a few things he scraped together off of Wikipedia, some photographs and a whole lot of imagination and it’s starting to sound an awful lot like Muppet Man could never see the light of day…

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