Bale, Pitt, and Gosling Team Up For The Big Short

The three biggest leading men in Hollywood will portray players in the 2008 financial collapse.

Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, and Ryan Gosling, arguably the three highest profile male actors on the planet, will share the screen in an upcoming adaptation of The Big Short, Michael Lewis’s 2010 book that took readers inside the 2008 financial collapse. Much like Pitt’s previous Lewis adaptation, Moneyball, the film will look to dramatize an expert’s view of a game of chance. But, where Moneyball focused on baseball, The Big Short will profile the men who crashed the world economy (and mostly got away with it).

Wrangling the three huge stars will be frequent Will Ferrell collaborator Adam McKay, marking the first dramatic film he’s directed. McKay, an outspoken critic of large banks, will also write the film, which will draw on many of the profiles that Lewis included in the book, as well as try to communicate some of the financial nuance involved with short-circuiting an entire economy. 

That Pitt is involved is no surprise – his company, Plan B, has worked with Lewis before and is producing this film as well. But Bale and Gosling, two mammoth stars not used to sharing the screen with an ensemble, will be contributing smaller parts than they’re used to: The project is being described as an ensemble piece in the style of Traffic or Syriana.

Whether McKay will be able to quickly transition from comedy to drama should be interesting, although the saying has long been that drama is much easier to pull off than comedy, of which McKay is already pretty much a modern master. But as fellow director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu said recently about his film Birdman, “If you stretch tragedy, it will always become comedy.” So don’t expect it to be as dour an affair as it sounds, and definitely don’t be surprised when Will Ferrell reprises his role as lame duck George W. Bush, offering the banks a huge bailout and thinking Goldman Sachs is the name of an actual person.

Photos by Vera Anderson / WireImage