When the Bre-X scandal broke in 1997 and a massive gold find was revealed as a more massive fraud, mining executives predicted the true-life tale would be made into a movie, then joked about which actor should portray them on the big screen.
In one of my all-time favourite e-mails, the chairman at one of Canada’s biggest mining companies, Norm Keevil at Teck, sent a tongue-in-cheek note to suggest he be played by Sean Connery.
For the key role of Bre-X chief executive David Walsh, an affable mining promoter with an impressive beer gut, insiders tossed out the names of bumbling, rotund actors: John Goodman was a popular choice, so was George Wendt, best known as Norm from the TV show Cheers.
No one, and I mean no one, suggested an actor such as Matthew McConaughey for the starring role of Walsh. He’s too sharp, too edgy. Which is the starting point for the disconcerting breakdown between what really happened at Bre-X and Gold, the big-budget movie based loosely on the scandal that opens wide on Friday.
Somewhere in the making of this movie, Gold became a McConaughey vehicle rather than a thriller about the fraud that played out in the jungles of Indonesia, on global stock markets and in the headlines.
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