Wall Street insider looks into "Money Never Sleeps"

Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:35am EDT
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By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK (Reuters) - More than 20 years after the release of hit film "Wall Street," director Oliver Stone again looks at the world of high finance with "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," opening in theaters on Friday.

The sequel to 1987's original film, which earned Michael Douglas an Oscar in the role of corporate raider Gordon Gekko, tells of a brash young trader (Shia LaBeouf) looking to cash in on Wall Street even as financial markets collapse around him.

Thomas Belesis, chief executive officer at New York-based brokerage firm John Thomas Financial, was a technical advisor on "Money Never Sleeps," and he portrayed a Wall Street chief in the film. He talked to Reuters about working on the movie, the way it portrays his industry, and how true it is to the real Wall Street. One hint: Belesis is bullish.

Q: How did you become involved with the film?

A: "When Oliver was first researching it, he was introduced to me by the building manager at 40 Wall Street, the Trump Building where John Thomas Financial is located. He was looking for a trading floor to use in the film and we hit it off. He ended up filming at a different floor...but he offered me a role, which I gladly accepted."

Q: Did you have any previous acting experience?

A: "No, but I wasn't intimidated. I play Shia's boss, an executive at a Bear Stearns-like firm that collapses because of the subprime issue. My scenes have me in conferences or talking to traders, and those are things I live everyday. I'm used to being commanding in those situations. Plus, as a director, Oliver is a master at his trade. He knows how to get the best out of everyone."

Q: Were you familiar with the original "Wall Street"?   Continued...

<p>Director Oliver Stone arrives for the premiere of the film "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" in New York September 20, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>