FTX the Movie: Just when you thought it was over, Sam Bankman-Fried’s going to Hollywood! Well, not literally.
Michael Lewis, the critically acclaimed American author of the books that inspired the blockbuster movies The Big Short (2015), Moneyball (2011) and The Blind Side (2009), has his next assignment in the works – a biography on Sam Bankman-Fried.
On November 15, a leaked email from Creative Art Agency revealed Lewis’ extensive research into the entrepreneur, having spent six months traveling and interviewing him in the months prior to FTX’s downfall.
“His childhood, early success on Wall Street, embrace of effective altruism and the creation of a crypto empire that catapulted him in record time into the ranks of richest people in the world seemed more than sufficient for a signature Michael Lewis book”, read the email.
The CAA agent who penned the message analogised SBF as the protagonist of Luke Skywalker, a Jedi master born from modesty, who is pitted against the enemy of Darth Vader, Binance’s Changpeng Zhao.
Now today, the New York Post has reported that Lewis visited Sam Bankman-Fried during house arrest in his parents California home on December 23 and spent “several hours inside the residence” with the disgraced founder.
Whether his intention to pursue the story remains is yet to be revealed, as he “hasn’t written anything yet”, but Twitter is unsurprisingly having a field day with the news.
FTX the Movie: Twitter Reacts
Zhu Su, ex-founder of the Singapore-based bankrupt exchange Three Arrows Capital — whose liabilities total US$3 billion, weighed in on the conversation stating that it would be “genuinely a shame if he [Lewis] lets it all hang loose here” if he pursues the SBF story.
Peter Schiff, a staunch proponent of the ancient commodity Gold, and a notorious anti-Bitcoiner, tweeted perhaps his most rational piece of commentary on the cryptocurrency markets to-date.
The American financier asserted that Lewis’ depiction of Bankman-Fried will be little more than a “work of fiction”, and that the acclaimed author should “piece together what really happened from more reliable sources.”
Twitter user ABetterTale drew comparisons to the 2016 movie ‘The Big Short’, a story adapted for the screen from Lewis’ non-fictional book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine published six years prior.
The Big Short depicted the origins of the 2008 US financial crisis, centering its focus on the perilous growth of America’s housing bubble through the eyes of hedge fund manager Michael Burry, played by Christian Bale.
Winner of an Academy Award and British Academy Film Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay, among other critical accolades, the film has been applauded by the finance and tech community for its honest account of events.
ABetterTale tweeted that Bankman-Fried’s financial saga hasn’t got as much “epic potential” as The Big Short did when Lewis first sat down at the keyboard.
Some dude called Art Vandelay with a profile picture of George from Seinfeld humorously replied “It’s Wolf of Wall Street with gross, ugly people”, saying that he’d only watch it if “Jennifer Lawrence stars as Caroline [Ellison].”
Hollywood Comes Calling
Michael Lewis is a renowned writer, and despite residing in New Orleans, has the keen eye of Hollywood at his door eager to read his next manuscript.
As in the case of The Big Short, as well as other fintech blockbusters The Social Network and Wolf of Wall Street, the dramatised plotlines depicted on the big screen can alter the cultural narrative and re-write the pages of public recollection of the real-life event.
For example, The Social Network was criticised by Zucks for “making up a bunch of stuff that I found kind of hurtful.” In his words, “the reality is that writing code and then building a product and building a company is not a glamorous enough thing to make a movie about, so you can imagine that a lot of this stuff they had to embellish or make up.”
An attempt to rewrite FTX’s narrative in favor of the curly-headed fraudster Bankman-Fried could spark controversy within the crypto community, especially with the one million retail creditors still to be reconciled.
Netflix’s ‘Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King’ told the events of Gerald Cotten, and his Canadian cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX which embezzled $190 million in customer funds.
The documentary ultimately made good entertainment, but stood on the side of caution about Cotten’s suspicious death.
As for FTX the movie? Now, we wait….