Homeless men idled outside the Four Seasons restaurant as financial titans and celebrities shuttled in from the rain, assisted by burly bouncers. Upstairs, at Monday’s postpremiere party for HBO’s Too Big to Fail—based on the book by New York Times financial reporter wunderkind Andrew Ross Sorkin—sprawling platters of sushi and ceviche awaited consumption.
“Well,” NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams told the Transom, “we’re surrounded by irony.”
He gestured towards the room’s boom-time centerpiece. “We’re having this conversation 10 feet from a sculpture of a bull nicely mimicking [the one] on Wall Street, and standing on, um, help me with the imagery…” Mr. Williams said. We did. “Yes!” he said. “A pile of money.”
Subtlety be damned! Or so screamed the four Robert Indiana paintings reconfigured from the iconic L-O-V-E to spell H-O-P-E. Under them, Warren Buffett sat with five women, snacking on pastries. George Soros ambled about, at one point breezing by Mr. Sorkin when the Times writer attempted a handshake. Mr. Soros spent the rest of the night at a table—also filled with women—in plain sight, unmolested. Other subjects Mr. Sorkin reports on mingled around the pool, along with some of the actors—James Woods, Topher Grace, William Hurt, Paul Giamatti—paid to portray them.
Yet, for Mr. Sorkin, one particularly accurate performance stood out.
“I play a reporter for about four seconds,” he said. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, ‘How did I prepare for that?’ Well, it was really torturous.”
“He’s unusually capable of imitating a human being!” chimed in fellow Times man David Carr. “You go, ‘God he’s really nice,’ but then you see his work and you go, ‘There must be something secretly evil about him.’ But there’s not!”
“The check is in the mail for this man,” Mr. Sorkin concluded.
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