Those of you who actually saw “Inside Job,” the movie that “exposes” the evil greedy bastards working on Wall Street remember that the exact moment the movie finds its bad guy.In the scene, the director, Charles Ferguson, is interviewing Glenn Hubbard, who used to be the chief economic adviser to George Bush and is now the dean of Columbia Business School.
Ferguson asks him about which financial firms he consults for (its implied that he gets paid handsomely for each one and Ferguson has just told asked him if he doesn’t think it’s a massive conflict of interest), and Hubbard freaks out.
If we remember correctly, he says something like:
That wasn’t supposed to be part of our discussion.
I don’t have to answer that.
And actually, you have a few more minutes, and then this interview is over.
And THEN! Ferguson asks Hubbard again. And he goes:
I’m not going to answer that.
“In fact, you’ve got three minutes. SO GIVE IT YOUR BEST SHOT.”
And the snear on his face when he says, “give it your best shot,” is incredible. It falls immediately from his face a second later, and he looks into the camera and realises that he’s just made the movie for Ferguson.
There was no way that scene was getting edited out. But if you read between the lines in the credits where Ferguson lists lawyer after lawyer who helped him make the movie, it suggested that Hubbard and others probably tried to get at least a few of their scenes cut out.
So how does Ferguson feel about going against Hubbard’s wishes, after he so kindly agreed to be interviewed for the film (Hubbard actually reminds Ferguson of this)?
Andrew Ross Sorkin asked him. Read his thoughts below.
With contentious interviews like the one involving Mr. Hubbard, do subjects ever get the feeling there’s been a bait and switch?
A.There was no bait and switch. Essentially, everyone interviewed for the film was given the same information. We told them who we were. A few people asked for my C.V., or information about me, which we supplied. We said that we were making a documentary. We described the subject of the documentary. Some people had further detailed questions. Most didn’t. Glenn Hubbard did not. We asked him to be interviewed. He agreed to be interviewed.
Q.Any reaction afterward?
A. Obviously, some of those people were extremely unhappy. But, you know, too bad.
To be fair, Glenn Hubbard isn’t the only person scewered in the movie, not by a long shot. And Larry Summers also gets his fair share of crap for being the President of Harvard, a Chief economic advisor, and getting very well for consulting for DE Shaw and for speaking at financial conferences.