Michelle spent time in Ruth’s tiny kitchen in Connecticut,” said a source at the premiere of the film. “She sat in her kitchen and studied her.” After the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme scandal, Ruth reportedly lived in an Old Greenwich home owned by one of her sons, then moved to a 989-square-foot apartment.
But although Pfeiffer spent time with Madoff, director Barry Levinson told us, “I don’t think it would be appropriate to say she ‘cooperated’ with the film. Michelle simply spent a little time talking to Ruth. I don’t think Michelle talked much about the script. It was simply to get to know her — however brief the time spent.”
The filmmaker and Robert De Niro never did get to meet with Bernie in prison. But will Ruth and Bernie see the film? Levinson — whose son Sam Levinson penned the powerful script — told us, “I don’t believe Ruth has seen the film. As to Bernie? Do they have HBO in prison?”
HBO boss Richard Plepler hosted the MoMA premiere, where quietly mixing among the stars, moguls and media types — like De Niro, Pfeiffer, Robert Kraft, Sir Howard Stringer, Tom Freston, Mickey Drexler and Tom Brokaw — was the real FBI agent who arrested Madoff, Ted Cacioppi, with his wife Karen, as well as his supervisor at the time, Paul Roberts.
Neither agent would comment on the film, but we hear the FBI did provide information for “technical accuracy.”
Also at the Emmy-buzzed film, which will air on May 20, were Cuba Gooding Jr., Jane Rosenthal, Mark Axelowitz, Harry Connick Jr. and Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas.
Stringer earlier joked as he sat to watch the dramatic film, “I hear it has a happy ending.” But by the time the credits rolled, some insiders were visibly shaken. “A number of guests were very close to victims of the scandal,” said an insider.
De Niro physically transformed himself for the role, but told us that in the end, “I don’t know if Bernie Madoff is a sociopath.
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