Here's the latest from Cityboy:
There are a couple of questions that have been plaguing Cityboys for years:
Firstly: ‘When will my boss appreciate my brilliance and quadruple by paltry bonus?’ And - almost as important - ‘Why has there never been a decent film based in the Square Mile?’
Every Cityboy knows that they work in the coolest and most dynamic sector of the economy. Cityboys earn the biggest bucks, are at the cutting edge of capitalism and are helping to coordinate the technological revolutions that are transforming our world. For God’s sake, without bankers we’d be living in the dark ages - shopping at Woolies and driving Ford Cortinas!
Despite these obvious truths, there has been no recognition of our brilliance on celluloid. Filmmakers have tended to steer well clear of our pinstriped brethren. There have, admittedly, been some damn good films set around banking in America, including the recent ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ and, of course, the classic ‘Wall Street’ (which, during my twelve years as a banker, was still viewed as a blueprint for how to behave!), but it seems no-one in the UK wants to sully their ‘art’ by exploring dirty things like money.
Hence, the British attempts to make films about high finance have been eminently forgettable. Not only that, but the Square Mile itself has tended to merely play a bit part in proceedings. So, the main location for Ewan McGregor’s deadly dull ‘Rogue Trader’ (about Nick Leeson) is Singapore, whilst the action in Russell Crowe’s tedious ‘A Good Year’ takes place in Provence. It’s almost like we’re embarrassed about the financial powerhouse for UK plc!
It may be understandable that ‘the men in grey suits’ have deemed spreadsheets and credit default swaps as unlikely to put bums on seats (especially since bankers are never the most popular of folk!) However, it shows a paucity of imagination to assume that a film set in the world of banking need focus on the boring aspects of the job. Indeed, many of the great American banking films such as ‘Trading Places’ or ‘Other People’s Money’ merely have banking as the backdrop for an exciting, human story.
It was with this in mind that I wrote the screenplay for Cityboy (based on my book of the same name). I wanted to write THE definitive British banking film, which would give an insider’s insights into the world I used to inhabit whilst not blinding laymen with dull technical nonsense. I want this black comedy to show how fun and exciting banking was during what Gordon Brown called ‘the age of irresponsibility’ and capture the madness just before the bubble burst. I want to show those ignorant critics out there how anyone could be seduced by the job everyone now loves to hate and do it whilst telling the humorous tale of a bumbling hippy who accidentally triggers the global financial crisis.
There has never been a great film about banking in London. I’m hoping we can change that… with the help of those lovely folk at the Inland Revenue! That is because the tax incentives for investing in an SEIS/EIS approved film can be so attractive for a high rate taxpayer that they only put at risk a small fraction of what they invest. Indeed, a high rate taxpayer with a capital gains liability can put at risk only 13.5% of his investment with the rest being handed back to him by HMRC – incredible but true!
We’re going to show those Yanks we too can make great movies about money… and, once that quandary’s been dealt with, we can get back to focusing on the all-important business of quadrupling our bonus!