The Wizard of Lies tells the story of Bernie Madoff, an investment adviser who committed one of the largest cases of financial fraud in U.S. history. In 2009, Madoff was given the maximum sentence of 150 years in federal prison for fleecing people out of billions of dollars.
Michelle Pfeiffer plays Madoff’s wife, Ruth, in the upcoming TV movie. According to the film’s producer and director, Barry Levinson, Pfeiffer briefly spent time hanging out with Ruth Madoff to prepare for the role: “Michelle Pfeiffer spent some time with Mrs. Madoff, so she got a sense of what the woman was like and conversations that might’ve taken place.”
A source told Page Six: “Michelle spent time in Ruth’s tiny kitchen in Connecticut. She sat in her kitchen and studied her.”
At the film’s premiere at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the three-time Academy Award-nominated actress opened up to the Hollywood Reporter about portraying Ruth Madoff. “It was unrelenting to see what these people go through and how it affected everyone. And for me — Ruth, mostly — she lost everything in a day. It was all taken away from her.”
“There’s a lot of anticipation toward those scenes and anxiety as the day gets closer, so a lot of the times it feels like a huge relief when they’re over. But sometimes it stays with you a little,” she added.
Pfeiffer revealed that her husband, David E. Kelley, took notice of her commitment to the role: “I’m not sure that I’m actually aware of it — my husband says sometimes I disappear a little bit when I work, so I guess I do.”
Robert DeNiro portrays Bernie Madoff in the TV movie, and the film reunites the two actors, who last worked together in the 2013 film The Family.
The Wizard of Lies airs May 20 on HBO.
Watch: Charlie Hunnam cringes as he’s forced to watch early acting performance:
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