| 13.3°C Dublin

Robert De Niro finds Bernie Madoff's actions 'beyond his comprehension'


Robert De Niro plays Bernie Madoff

Robert De Niro plays Bernie Madoff

Robert De Niro plays Bernie Madoff

Robert De Niro says he still does not understand multi-billion dollar fraudster Bernie Madoff, despite having played him in a new film.

The Oscar-winning actor portrays Madoff in a new HBO television movie, The Wizard Of Lies, but admitted the former US stockbroker's actions were "beyond his comprehension".

Madoff, now 78, was jailed for 150 years in 2009 for masterminding a fraud which robbed investors of 65 billion US dollars (£53 billion).

The former Nasdaq stock market chairman ran a bogus business duping investors out of huge sums in a pyramid scheme.

Speaking to the Television Critics Association (TCA) in Pasadena, California, De Niro said: "I spoke to people. I didn't meet him but I did a fair bit of research on him.

"What he did is beyond my comprehension so there's a disconnect somehow in him.

"I still would like to understand, but I don't understand.

"You can only go so far with your interpretation. The only thing I feel strongly about is that he didn't tell his kids and he didn't tell his wife."

De Niro, who is starring in his first HBO film, admitted he was unsure if he wanted to make the movie and described Madoff's actions as a "classic con situation".

"I wasn't sure I wanted to do it, it was a lot of work, but I'm glad I did," he told reporters.

"He's a classic example of somebody who receded back, let people come to him, and got to a position where people thought it was an honour for him to take their money.

"Movies like The Big Short, this film, there's a good chance there'll be more films showing this kind of situation, illustrating the problems we have now, that we have to face, that we're about to see, witness, experience. It's going to happen I'm sure.

"(Madoff) must have had very strong disconnect or disdain to people, because he really wasn't from a certain sort of world he was in. His kids he wanted to be part of this world, but he wasn't."

The Wizard Of Lies, which will air on Sky Atlantic later this year, also stars Michelle Pfeiffer as Madoff's wife Ruth and is directed by Oscar-winning film-maker Barry Levinson. The film will be shown on HBO in the US in May.

PA Media