The Director Of 'Margin Call' Reveals The Event That Inspired The Film

J.C. ChandorJ.C. Chandor

Photo: Julia La Roche/Business Insider

J.C. Chandor, the 37-year-old director of the new financial crisis film called “Margin Call,” was first inspired to make the movie because of an event that happened in 2006 before the financial meltdown.During that time, Chandor, a veteran documentary producer and commercial director, was trying to make a living a real estate developer, he told the crowd at the Angelika Film centre on Friday.

He had formed a partnership with a few others with plans to revamp an old industrial building in Tribeca.

Eventually, the group started getting offers on the building.

At that time, a “very senior” investment banker, who Chandor referred to as a “godfather,” stepped in and warned them to “take offers on the building.” 

They listened and sold the building.

“A year and a half later, the financial world literally comes to an end. And I started thinking back to what it was like. What did he know? What was he literally seeing that made him say something?” Chandor told MovieLine in an interview.

Chandor’s movie “Margin Call” is a low budget indie film with big stars such as Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci, Penn Badgley and Demi Moore. 

The plot centres around a fictional investment bank going through a Lehman-like crisis where the firm is trying to dump its massive exposure to soured mortgage-backed securities in order to save the firm.  

We watched the film on Friday night and Chandor did a question and answer session with the audience afterwards where he revealed some interesting facts about the film.

  • Margin Call does not occur during a specific date.  That’s on purpose because Chandor wanted the film to be set during anytime and not just 2008.
  • One reason the dialogue portrays accurate investment banking lingo is because Chandor grew up around finance professionals. His father worked for Merrill Lynch.  
  • The chief executive officer John Tuld (Jeremy Irons) is a combination of Merrill Lynch’s ex-CEO John Thain and Lehman Brother’s ex-CEO Dick Fuld. 
  • The investment bank in the movie is not Lehman Brothers. “It’s not Lehman and this bank in the movie is still in business,” Chandor said.
  • The movie was purposely written to be shot in one location. The location was at One Penn Plaza at an old hedge fund’s office and they also used Citi’s trading floor. 

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