Lehman Collapses Again on Small Screen

Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and actor James Cromwell who plays him in the BBC2 drama.

The antagonist to Fuld would have to be Paulson, played by Cromwell, who depicts the former Treasury secretary, according to Bloomberg, as a "strait-laced tough guy."

"There's no public money for the bailout of Lehman Brothers," Cromwell says in the film.

"We see that Paulson is a man who is very powerful and very intelligent and has to stand at the helm and make those decisions," Warner said.

Johnson said one of the film's pivotal scenes is between Fuld and Paulson during a late-night phone call. "They're talking around stuff," Johnson said. "Finally Fuld says, "What would you do if you were me?' It's like a man talking to his father. It's agony."

Cromwell, who had no trouble sharing his dislike of Paulson with a BBC interviewer, said he nonetheless played the role with "relish."

"It's rather like Michael Douglas doing Gordon Gecko in 'Wall Street,'" he told the interviewer. "All these guys are the top of the line, but when push comes to shove [Paulson] has the power to come in and make or save their asses. By withdrawing the carrot and saying: 'You take care of it,' he gets to watch them revert to type and fulfill the agenda that he knows will ultimately lead to the result [that he wants]."

The result, according to Lawrence McDonald, a former Lehman vice president and author of a best-selling book about the bank's collapse, "A Colossal Failure of Common Sense," was Congress passed the TARP legislation to bail out other banks.

"It would never have been passed if Lehman hadn't failed," he told ABCNews.com. "The government put Lehman's head under water and watched for bubbles."

McDonald added that Fuld was also to blame, because he pushed out all of the people who could have put the brakes on when Lehman was steaming toward the iceberg of ultimate destruction.

That angered Paulson, who as former head of Goldman Sachs, had always been Fuld's nemesis. "Tensions between Paulson and Fuld are factual and correct," said McDonald. "They didn't like each other."

Michael Landes plays Zach, a fictional banker and Richard Fuld's assistant.

For comical relief in the film, Warner created the fictional character of Zach played by American Michael Landes. He's a banker and Fuld's personal gofer and narrates parts of the story to camera.

"I think the voiceover brings an element of humor," Landes told ABCNews.com. "It gives it that little bite that takes it just from being just a straight drama."

Zach's sister also makes a brief cameo as a sub-prime mortgage holder who explains how the whole sub-prime mess brought down Wall Street.

Several British actors, including Alex Jennings who plays Timothy Geithner, then the New York Fed president and now the new Treasury Secretary, round out the cast.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and British actor Alex Jennings who portrays him.

Writer Vicky Ward, who writes about the collapse in her upcoming book, "The Great Mistake: The Fall of Lehman Brothers and the Weekend that Changed the World," said she hopes the film will show another side to Fuld.

"Everyone has made Dick Fuld out to be this aggressive, frightening guy," she told ABCNews.com. "He didn't mind having that image out there because it served him well. But he can be immensely charming. And by the end he was far more bullied than a bully. He sat there at the end rather helplessly."

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