Diana B. Henriques, an award-winning financial journalist, is the author of The Wizard of Lies, a New York Times bestseller about the Bernie Madoff scandal, and three other books on business history. As a writer for The New York Times, she has largely specialized in investigative reporting on white-collar crime, market regulation and corporate governance. more
The HBO film The Wizard of Lies is in production and will star Robert De Niro (as Bernie Madoff) and Michelle Pfeiffer (as Ruth Madoff). I was also excited to be asked to play myself in scenes that feature my reporting and interaction with Madoff. The film is scheduled to be released in 2017. For more information please see the HBO page. Photo: HBO.
“She advised that journalists be extra alert when interviewing people like Madoff to avoid getting swept up in charm and potential lies. The story seemed to resonate with students in the audience.”
Maya Lora wrote an interesting synopsis of a recent talk given at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. It is always inspiring to have an opportunity to discuss research and reporting with the next generation of journalists.
“Henriques is also wary of the inability of jurisdictions to provide resolution: ‘This case just underscores how ill-equipped the judicial and bankruptcy systems are to cope with a global cross-border fraud. Haggling between jurisdictions takes centre stage before the victims ever get heard, particularly between the UK bankruptcy process and the US bankruptcy process.'”
The road to my HBO film debut (playing myself in its adaptation of The Wizard of Lies) began with coffee with the executive producers in mid-July 2015. After our long conversation, they suggested to Barry Levinson that I should be asked to audition to play myself in the scenes where a character named “Diana B. Henriques” interviews Madoff in prison. I got the call a few weeks later: Would I consider doing a screen test for the role? Of course, I would! After a second audition and discussions about the filming, I got the part.
It is surreal to play oneself in a theatrical environment. Dick Cavett had a wonderful reaction to that experience — you can read it here. The challenge is not to “play” oneself but to just “be” oneself when everyone else is playing a role. But scary as it is — and accepting that I could wind up on some cutting room floor — this once-in-a-lifetime chance was just too exciting to pass up!