Based on the book of the same name by Michael Lewis, The Big Short spotlights the 2008 fall of Wall Street.
When four insiders, money manager Michael Burry (Christian Bale), Wall Street banker Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), hedge-fund manager Mark Baun (Steve Carell) and banker-turned-environmental-doomsayer Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt) see what the media and government regulators refuse to – the impending collapse of the global economy – they use their connections to help them make their own bet against Wall Street.
Directed with insight and humor by Adam McKay, the movie opens this Friday, December 11th 2015. Christian Bale, Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling meet journalists to discuss their timely motion picture.
Ryan, what was it that attracted you to this project?
Ryan: I love Adam’s movies. In some ways they are not even movies, they’re like friends of mine. I love them and to be able to work with him at all was exciting.
Then to get this script and to see that it’s a departure for him, and to be able to be a part of that as well, just made it more exciting.
Steve, you’ve worked with Adam before, what was it about him that made him the right person to direct this movie?
Steve: We’ve known each other since the late eighties. He has always been very passionate, very smart and incredibly funny. He’s always the funniest person in the room, and he knows it. (he laughs)
He’s so shy about that and very self-deprecating, but every time I’ve worked with him, he’s always the person with the most unique, funniest idea that you wished you had, and the one when he gives it to you, you hope you don’t screw up.
Christian, you work pretty much by yourself throughout this movie. Is that something that you enjoyed?
Christian: I really loved just working by myself. It was so much fun. It’s amazing how much you can get done when there is nobody else. We shot for nine days and we just banged out the pages so quick.
We played around with it, and when you’re by yourself there really is no continuity you’ve got to worry about at all. I loved it, I want to make every film that way from now on.
Are you good at numbers?
Christian: No, I’m terrible at numbers, and it went in one ear and stayed there throughout filming, and as soon as I was done filming it went out the other ear.
What I found is that in watching the film it’s entertaining first and foremost. The essence of it is what does it really mean for people on the street and every day?
I was really surprised, and kind of proud of myself, that I did get it all and how much fun it was understanding [it], and then tragic in understanding the consequences.
Steve, your character is so relatable in the movie, how did you relate to him?
Steve: I identified with the fact that he felt very much alone. He was approaching this with seemingly insurmountable odds and saw himself as this knight. It’s complicated, obviously, because it’s morally and ethically ambiguous, because he was certainly going to benefit from it all.
I think the scene where Brad Pitt’s character says, ‘Don’t dance,’ is such a crystallizing moment, because that to me is the entire movie boiled down to just one small seemingly inconsequential moment. ‘Don’t dance.’ The way he delivers that is so heart-felt and so human. He’s so connected to the tragedy behind all of this. There is an enormous conflict going on within all of these characters.
Were you worried that the information in the movie could go over the audience’s head?
Ryan: The inspiration that made me want to be a part of this film came from the way it treats the audience as smart people. So much Wall Street terminology is designed to take advantage of consumers. The way Adam tells this story helps you understand what really happened.
This film is very unique, it’s inclusive and there’s no grandstanding and I think in the hands of a lot of other filmmakers it could have been very different, Adam just has a way of maintaining his sense of humor about something that’s obviously very upsetting. It was a very exciting thing to be a part of.