The Hollywood Reporter-
Seventy-seven pages into his 2010 best-seller, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, author Michael Lewis stops to congratulate readers with a “gold star” for getting this far. After all, the detailed analysis of the financial-industry machinations that led to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and the Great Recession (and, arguably, the election of President Obama in 2008) is a whirlwind of such headache-inducing terms as collateralized debt obligations and triple-A tranches woven together by the personal stories of the men who foresaw the implosion and made millions. “Nobody wants to read about credit default swaps,” jokes Lewis today. “And nobody wants to see a movie about that.”
Nobody except Adam McKay, the former Saturday Night Live head writer turned director of such unserious movies as Anchorman and Step Brothers, who in March 2014 persuaded Brad Pitt’s Plan B production company, Regency and Paramount to let him bring the book to the screen. McKay, 47, co-wrote the script (with Charles Randolph), tackling head-on the complexities of the subject matter and bringing a satirical edge to the material — a funny, angry, Michael Moore-style piece of advocacy in which the entire American financial system is the villain, complete with characters talking incredulously to the audience and actress Margot Robbie explaining subprime mortgages while sipping champagne nude in a bathtub. With Steve Carell on board as investor Steve Eisman (whose name is changed in the film), Christian Bale as neurologist turned hedge fund manager Dr. Michael Burry and Ryan Gosling as a composite character based on Deutsche Bank trader Greg Lippmann, the $28 million film came together in January (Pitt took a small role as an angel investor, and Marisa Tomei, Melissa Leo, Finn Wittrock and many others round out a deep cast). In one of the faster turnaround times for a studio movie, The Big Short was ready for its well-received premiere Nov. 12, ahead of a Dec. 11 release and a spot in this season’s awards race.