Greed is still good.
Or so those at 20th Century Fox hope. Even as their boss, Rupert Murdoch, pursued an uninvited takeover bid for Dow Jones this week, Fox movie executives quietly sealed a deal to revive Gordon Gekko, the suspender-loving financial prowler who made grabbing seem good in Oliver Stone's 1987 film, ''Wall Street.''
When last seen, the corrupt Gekko, an Oscar-winning role for Michael Douglas, was on the brink of surrendering his white cuffs for handcuffs, having been sold out by his protégé Bud Fox, played by Charlie Sheen.
''He went to jail,'' acknowledged Edward R. Pressman, who produced the original movie and reached an agreement with Fox this week to develop a sequel in which Mr. Douglas will resume his machinations on a global scale in the hedge-fund era. Mr. Pressman declined to say more about the plot. But the title, he said, will be ''Money Never Sleeps,'' after one of Gekko's guiding principles in the first film, written by Stanley Weiser and Mr. Stone.
''Wall Street'' was only a modest hit when Fox released it. But it won a passionate following in the financial world, where many found something to love in the predatory Gekko. Speaking by telephone from Bermuda, Mr. Douglas said he wouldn't mind if he never had ''one more drunken Wall Street broker come up to me and say, 'You're the man!' ''
Mr. Stone will not direct the sequel, although the producer said that Messrs. Pressman and Douglas and their new writer, Stephen Schiff (''True Crime''), pressed him to do so for months. Mr. Schiff, who expects to deliver a script later this year, said the Bud Fox character was likely to be missing as well. But a restyled Gekko, he predicted, might start setting trends all over again.
''If you weren't wearing suspenders before 'Wall Street,' you were certainly wearing them after,'' he said. As for moral development, don't expect too much from a villain who taught us that lunch is for wimps, and who bragged: ''I create nothing. I own.''
''I don't think he's much different,'' Mr. Douglas said. ''He's just had more time to think about what to do.''