Enron Scandal Moving from the Stage to the Big Screen
by Ethan Anderton
September 22, 2009
With all that's been happening in economic scandal news from Bernie Madoff to the Lehman Brothers, it's surprising to think that barely 8 years ago we were dealing with another industrial scandal from the Enron Corporation. While the real story behind the electricity, natural gas, pulp and paper, and communications company was brilliantly highlighted in the 2005 documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, a play is currently selling out shows in London, and soon to be showcased on Broadway in the spring. Variety reports that this play, simply titled Enron, will be adapted into a feature length drama for Columbia.
The script is being written by the play's writer Lucy Prebble and producer Laura Ziskin (of the Spider-Man films) will develop the film at Columbia Pictures. The Enron scandal was a story that captivated cable and network news stations alike when the Texas energy company was found to be practicing irregular accounting bordering on fraud throughout the 1990's. Enron's accounting firm Arthur Andersen helped the company to create offshore entities to avoid taxes in the United States making the company appear more profitable than it was in reality. More and more financial distortion was created to hide the fact that company was actually losing money. So stocks went up, and insider trading began. These illegal activities ultimately led to the largest declaration of bankruptcy at the time and one of the largest scandals in financial history.
While normally I'm sure the story of a scandal of this magnitude would be compelling to see on screen, in this current economic state I'm not sure I want to know just how multi-millionaire executives got us into the lowly state that our economy is in now. Partisanship aside, economic downturn is bad for us all, and I'm not sure I need to see it play out on the big screen. It's almost like when you find out your girlfriend or boyfriend is cheating on you, and you don't really want to know what happened, but you just have to find out… And then you drink lots of whiskey.