Sorry Ozzy, There's Another Prince of Darkness
Films about finance have had their fair share of the limelight in recent years, from Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, to The Big Short, to Too Big to Fail. Currently HBO and CNBC are airing films exploring the travesty of Bernard L. Madoff Securities. And last month, reports surfaced that Don Cheadle was attached to produce and star in the the film adaptation of Prince of Darkness, a book about Wall Street's first black millionaire .
There will definitely be challenges in bringing the story of Jeremiah G. Hamilton to the bigscreen. Precise details about his life are unavailable. Prince of Darkness' author Shane White laments a lack of primary source material to cofirm details such as the year and place of his birth (somehwere around the turn of the 19th century in either Richmond, VA or the West Indies (Haiti? Cuba? St. Thomas?) White manages to cull together a financial history mostly through court filings and financial records like Hamilton's bankruptcy. Through my own research for this post I discovered a Twitter account dedicated to Wall St's first back millionaire. The photo below describes their challenges of uncovering the details of Hamilton's life.
Contextually, however, there is plenty about life in antebellum NYC to mine for material, including the Great Fire of 1837 and the comically racist process of blackballing Hamilton faced in his early attempts to trade at the NYSE. There is also the salicious arrangement of Hamilton's marriage to a much younger white woman, which only added to the contempt many of his peers felt for him.
Just maybe don't expect many cuts from Ozzy Osbourne's Prince of Darkness to make the soundtrack?