Lehman Collapses Again on Small Screen

Richard Fuld, the man vilified for the collapse of Lehman Brothers nearly a year ago, has a story to tell but recently told a reporter no one wants to hear it.

"The facts are out there," the former Lehman CEO told a reporter for Reuters who tracked him down at his country home in Ketchum, Idaho, last Friday. "Nobody wants to hear it, especially not from me."

Maybe people will tune in tomorrow night instead, when BBC Two in the UK airs its docudrama, "The Last Days of Lehman Brothers," about Fuld's final days at the helm of the banking giant.

A British production featuring American actors Corey Johnson ("United 93") as Fuld and James Cromwell ("LA Confidential") as former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, "Last Days" is a fictionalized account of the weekend leading up to Lehman's collapse on Sept. 15, 2008.

The filmmakers try to stick close to the facts -- BBC Two did extensive research, interviewing many of the key players involved in that weekend -- but also took some dramatic license.

"A bunch of white guys sitting around in suits talking about money isn't very interesting, said Craig Warner, the screenwriter of the one-hour drama, told ABCNews.com. "I tried to make it fun and comprehensible. All I had to do was imagine that my brother would be watching. He has a very short attention span and likes things to be quick and amusing."

As part of his research to play the role of Fuld, Johnson said he watched YouTube videos of Fuld testifying before Congress.

Richard Fuld and actor Corey Johnson who plays the former Lehman Brothers chairman.

"He appeared disparaging and dismissive -- if he could have spit on people, he would have," Johnson told ABCNews.com. "But when I looked at him through a prism, he didn't seem like someone just being disparaging. He was driven, and he was trying to drive people around him to go higher and do better."

A reviewer for Bloomberg News called Johnson's portrayal of Fuld at turns "believable and buffoonish." Johnson as Fuld "hyperventilates in his shirtsleeves, swears at staff, pines for spare ribs" and punches a toy gorilla when times get rough. Fuld was nicknamed "gorilla" because of his intimidating business style.

Johnson said he believed Fuld had reached the "last extreme" in trying to save his company. "He loved this company beyond measure," he said. "The last thing he wanted was for it to go under. I think it's going to bother him till he dies that he couldn't do more to help the people at Lehman."

Fuld was unavailable to comment for this story. ABCNews.com was unable to reach Paulson for comment.

Warner saw Fuld as a tragic figure.

"He was a man who was probably doing what anyone else would be doing in his shoes, morally speaking," Warner said. "He was probably acting within the law, and probably doing it especially well. He was incredibly brilliant."

"What happened was a sort of natural disaster and he was in the eye of the storm," Warner continued. "His bank was brought down in the eye of the storm."

In the film, we watch as Fuld scrambles to hold onto the bank where he reigned for 14 years, courting a sale to Bank of America, then holding out for Barclays, only to have the British government refuse the acquisition and the American government refuse to bail out Lehman. In the end, Fuld was forced to file the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

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