Where's Gekko? 'Wall Street' turns 20

December marks the 20th anniversary of the movie 'Wall Street,' and the fanfare has begun.

By Telis Demos, Fortune reporter

(Fortune Magazine) -- Ever since Gordon Gekko ran afoul of the SEC at the end of Oliver Stone's 1987 classic, Wall Street, diehard fans have been wondering when the LBO kingpin would resurface.

Well, the wait is over. A sequel is in the works - with Douglas to star - and there have already been two different story lines developed for the film, tentatively called 'Money Never Sleeps.' And each speaks to how finance has changed since the original's release.

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Fortune was a prop in the 1987 original.

Stone, whose father's brokerage firm inspired the original, was involved in the sequel at first but pulled out to pursue other projects. In a script Stone conceived with the film's original screenwriter, Stanley Weiser, Gekko gets out of jail, sets up a hedge fund in China, and tries to reunite with his son. (For readers who never wore red suspenders, in the original, Gekko attempts a takeover of Bluestar Airline before being charged with insider trading.)

But in a chat with Fortune about the movie - which turns 20 in December and is being commemorated with a special-edition DVD - Stone says Gekko's time may be over anyway.

"Gordon Gekko couldn't manipulate the markets like he did back then," he says. "It's so big, so huge, that to be a minor player, you need to be a major bank."

The current screenplay that is in development with 20th Century Fox is being written by former New Yorker scribe Stephen Schiff and is still a work in progress.

But Schiff says that he and producer Ed Pressman have met with moguls in London, sheikhs in Dubai, and hedge funders in New York to give the aging Gekko global flair.

Schiff is also waiting to see how the current unease in the stock market plays out. This is more than a plot point: Market jitters were faulted for the mediocre debut of the original. Released in the wake of the 1987 stock market crash, it grossed just $40 million as tales of corrupt financiers suddenly seemed passé. "I don't want to date the film," says Schiff of Gekko's new role. "With what's going on right now, the question is, Where will the unassailable money end up? It might not be hedge funds."  Top of page