When you indicate in the film that a number of financiers refused to be interviewed, what sorts of excuses did they give, if any? Oh, they said different things. Some of them just said, “No!” and didn’t explain. Some of them actually said yes, but somehow the date never arrived when they would be free. Some said they had time conflicts. But most of them just said no, I think. Without explanation.
Why did you see Matt Damon as ideal for the narrator of Inside Job? He has a wonderful voice and a well-known voice, obviously, and he is known to have interesting, intelligent political views. In fact, Matt was very helpful.
How so? He read the transcripts of the film quite thoroughly and he had some good suggestions that we used in the film.
What sorts of suggestions? Some of the specific language of the narration. You know, what we had written was excessively complicated and convoluted. And Matt said, “There’s a way to simplify this.” So we discussed it and in fact, the final wording that we used incorporated some of his suggestions.
Now, you seem to also call for government regulation over the financial sector. But isn’t that, to some extent, how the current problems came to exist in the first place? In other words, that the price tag for politicians to be elected has become so high, that primarily millionaires hold office. And they may very well be corporate investors themselves, in kind of an entangled incestuous relationship between the government and the U.S. economy? You’re saying several different things. So was it regulation that caused these problems? No, it was deregulation. For a 40-year period, there was fairly heavy regulation, during and after the Depression. America had no financial crisis during that period. Then America began deregulating its financial services industry in the 1980s and began having financial crises.
But do you see anything having to do with that fact that it became so expensive to be an elected official that people who may very well also be involved in corporations became elected, and may therefore have deregulated the system? That sometimes happened. I think the majority of the time, it was not quite that, although it did have to do with the role of money in politics. It certainly did become much more expensive to run for office. Sometimes it was wealthy people who ran for office. But it was mainly corporate and industry campaign contributions that caused the reliance on business interests and favoritism towards them. And then a final issue is that sometimes people in government are kind to business in the expectation that after they leave government, they will go to work for the businesses that they are regulating, and the industries they’ve been regulating.
OK, what are you working on next? I have no idea!