NYT reporter Henriques to play herself in HBO movie
New York Times reporter Diana Henriques, who covered Bernie Madoff and ended up writing a book about the Ponzi scheme called “The Wizard of Lies,” has been selected to play herself in the upcoming HBO movie adaption of the book.
Henriques, who accepted a buyout from the Times in late 2011 but has continued to write for the paper, said she first met with star Robert DeNiro — who has been selected to play the part of Madoff — in June, and he grilled her for two hours about his mannerisms, his laugh, his sense of humor, and his relative closeness to his two sons.
Later this summer, Henriques met with casting director Ellen Chenoweth as fabled “Rainman”/”Good Morning, Vietnam” director Barry Levinson looked on from the sofa and made a few suggestions about how Henriques “interviewed” Madoff during the casting call.
The next day, she received a call that DeNiro liked her screen test and wanted to read a scene with Henriques, who interviewed Madoff in prison.
The next day, DeNiro met us in the same small office. We sat knee to knee; he had a script to follow, I was relying on memory. But about a minute into a 5-minute scene, he seemed to just drop out of his own head and into Bernie’s. It was a surreal, goosebumpy moment — and he’s barely started on building his characterization!
We finished the scene, looks were exchanged among Levinson, Chenoweth and DeNiro. After a bit of vague chit-chat, I got blunt (not an investigative reporter for nothing!) So, I said, what’s the decision? DeNiro gave me his patented smirk: “Ya got the part, kid.”
Henriques has also written 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.
Henriques was a member of a reporting team that was named a Pulitzer finalist in 2003 for its coverage of the aftermath of the Enron scandals. She was also a member of a team that won a 1999 Gerald Loeb Award for covering the near-collapse of Long Term Capital Management, a hedge fund whose troubles rocked the financial markets in September 1998.
In addition to her new acting duties, Henriques is currently working on a book on the 1987 market crash, for the same editor and publisher who handled the Madoff book, Paul Golob and Henry Holt. It’s due out for the 30th anniversary of the crash.
Added Henriques in an email to Talking Biz News: “Shooting will start in mid-September, and take a little more than a month. The air date hasn’t been announced, but I would guess at early to mid 2017. Maybe sooner, just not sure. At my level, the paycheck for the role is not impressive. But the psychic income?? Oh, man!!”