Whether the movies are any good remains to be seen, but the scandal certainly has the stuff of which a great movie can be made, said Jim Ragan, director of the University of Southern California's professional writing program.
"Many of the great movies are about backdrop. Doctor Zhivago had the Russian Revolution. Gone with the Wind had the Civil War," he said. "Enron has greed, deals in Washington, a company trying to show profits at all costs. That's the approach I would take. That would be the backdrop.
(For no particularly good reason, I'm reminded here of what Yogi Berra said when someone asked him what he thought of Doctor Zhivago: "It sure was cold in Russia in those days.")
It's hard to know where to start with the snarkiness on this one. Christian Kane! Mister Blue! Little Kenny Lay flashbacks! Someone please get to work on the Enron Movie Drinking Game so we can all be properly prepared when it airs.
And what could be more fun than an Enron movie? Why, two Enron movies, of course:
FX plans on skirting satire to present a sobering take on Enron, said Gerard Bocaccio, senior vice president of entertainment.
Enron "almost rose to a mythical status, with Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling and (Andrew) Fastow. It became the precursor of the meltdown of the Clinton, go-go 1990s," he said. "We're taking the issue of corporate excess very seriously."
The Enron movie, Bocaccio said, will be loosely based on the still unreleased book Power Failure by local writer Mimi Swartz (who is married to a Chronicle assistant managing editor) and Sherron Watkins, who wrote a famous memo criticizing Enron's accounting.
Some Hollywood observers doubt that FX will make the movie. Only rarely will a network or cable channel decide to make a second made-for-TV movie on the same subject, said Barbara Corday, chair of USC's television production division and former head of prime-time programming at CBS.
"They try to avoid it like the plague," she said. "I don't believe anybody will make a second movie."