Monday night in New York City stock brokers in three-piece, pinstriped suits and celebrities in glittering ball gowns crowded the red carpet outside the Ziegfeld Theater in the hopes of catching a glimpse of their hero, Gordon Gekko, for the much-anticipated premiere of "Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps."
Weeks after announcing his real-life battle with stage-four throat cancer, Michael Douglas, who won an Oscar in 1988 for his powerful portrayal of Gekko (the greedy insider trader) in the original "Wall Street" movie, put on another noteworthy performance with a brave face as he walked an intimidating and noisy Manhattan red carpet.
Surrounded by wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, director Oliver Stone and costars Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Josh Brolin, Susan Sarandon, Frank Langella and Eli Wallach, Douglas didn't stop for interviews but instead embraced his friends and charmed the press with his permanent glistening smile.
Although Douglas' illness humanizes him, his colleagues continue to revere him for his acting prowess.
LaBeouf, who plays a young successful trader and Gekko's daugther's fiancée in the new movie, gushed, "Douglas is a legend. ... He's the face they'll paint on walls. He's an American institution, as is Oliver. These are masters of craft and just to be around them you hope something rubs off on you. They're incredible men, really. I think the biggest thing I came away [with] from this is how great they are as men. I knew they were great artists but they're good dudes."
Actors in Awe of Douglas
LaBeouf described acting alongside Douglas as, "Terrifying [and] intimidating," adding, "You feel fear hard. [Douglas] … makes you shake in your boots … for a while. Those first couple [of] takes … sitting there as a fan and watching him go through his ruminations and his motions … finding Gekko again … you know [that you have] ... front-row tickets to the coolest show on earth."
Brolin, who plays a partner in rival investment bank Churchill Schwartz in the film, has known Douglas since he was "10 or 11 years old" as kids growing up near Santa Barbara, Calif.
"I told Oliver … look, I got to go head to head with Michael [in this movie] … But … when it actually happened and Michael really brought his A game … I was nervous," Brolin told ABCNews.com.
Director Stone, who directed Douglas in the original "Wall Street" movie, was more realistic about his star's health.
"[Douglas] doesn't have to be [here]," Stone told ABCNews.com. "He's coming out because he wants to and he wants to help the film and he believes in it. … People care about him. It's hard. He's courageous and I really admire him for it."
"Wall Street 2" opens in theaters nationwide Friday, the day before Douglas' 66th birthday and his wife's 41st.