Details: When Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps hits theaters, there will be those who—on seeing Gordon Gekko complete a lengthy prison sentence—will ask, "Wait a minute: Greed is bad?" Why do you think so many people misunderstood the message of the original Wall Street?
Oliver Stone: I was somewhat amazed by the whole continuing cult thing around Gekko. I mean, I was being facetious. Greed is not good. Greed is an awful thing. In the eighties we entered into a period of perversity which I had never seen before. I thought the world would right itself. And every day it's just become more absurd.
Details: You once said, "Money was the sex of the eighties." What is money now?
Oliver Stone: Money is still sex, but it's steroid sex. I mean, a million dollars was a lot of money in '87. Now you can't even open a hedge fund, it seems, unless you've got a billion.
Details: Your last Oscar came over 20 years ago for Born on the Fourth of July. Do you feel pressure to win another?
Oliver Stone: You can't fall in love with Oscars. You have to look at it like a high-school presidency or something. You know: You were most popular at that time. When I won, thank God, it wasn't a madhouse like it's become. These independent producers started to come up and really campaign viciously. It was so ugly, after I got nominated for Nixon as cowriter in 1996, I never went back. Woody Allen did the smartest thing. And Kubrick. They didn't give a fuck.
Details: You've said that a lot of your critics over the years have confused you with the characters you were depicting. Does that still happen?
Oliver Stone: No, less so. I'm not so much of a firebrand. I would spout off when I was a younger man. Get angry. Pissed off. I realized late in life that I could have been like the Coen brothers: Shut up completely and just let the films speak for themselves.
Details: In a review of Platoon, one critic wondered aloud whether you were "using filmmaking as a substitute for drugs." Have you ever found a suitable substitute for drugs?
Oliver Stone: Oh, sure—money, sex, God, Buddha. There're so many substitutes. Frankly, I don't smoke grass anymore. I gave it up. I just wanted to see if I could function without it. But it did save my ass in Vietnam. I could have become a very bitter man. I also did a lot of psychedelics that I thought helped me. The worst drug I ever did, and I've admitted to it, was cocaine, from '79 to '81. That I regret, because I do think it hurt my brain cells, and I don't think I was as creative as I should have been.
Details: Is it true you were in the process of kicking cocaine while writing the coke-drenched Scarface?
Oliver Stone: No. I stopped before the writing—cold turkey. My attitude was "Farewell to coke." I mean, it took so much money off me, I said, "I'm going to get something back."
Details: At 63, is writing a movie harder or easier?
Oliver Stone: It's always been a bitch.
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