How the ‘Wizard of Lies’ Cast Compares to the Real Bernie Madoff and Family

Kelly Woo
Writer

The absorbing tale of fraudulent businessman Bernie Madoff comes to life in HBO’s The Wizard of Lies, which premieres Saturday at 8 p.m Based on the book of the same title by Diana B. Henriques, the movie delves into Madoff’s (Robert De Niro) fall, as his precarious Ponzi scheme crumbles and he is arrested for perpetrating the largest financial fraud in American history. His disgrace spreads to his wife, Ruth (Michelle Pfeiffer), and their two sons.

The story has been put on screen before, in last year’s ABC miniseries Madoff. Now, HBO takes its turn, and The Wizard of Lies is not so much a biopic but a psychological exploration of Madoff, Ruth, and their family. With big names like De Niro and Pfeiffer headlining the cast, the movie has already drawn a lot of attention. But how much do the cast members resemble their real-life counterparts? Click through our slideshow to see.

The Wizard of Lies premieres Saturday, May 20 at 8 p.m. on HBO.

Robert De Niro / Bernie Madoff

De Niro is one of the great actors of his generation, but he’s also indisputably himself. It’s hard not to see De Niro rather than Madoff, even if he dons glasses and a balding hair cap.

(Photo: HBO/AP)

Michelle Pfeiffer / Ruth Madoff

The actress is nearly two decades younger than Ruth, so even taking into account that the movie is set around 2008, Pfeiffer is very young for the role. But she does look the part, with platinum blonde hair, glasses, and those delicate features.

(Photo: HBO/AP)

Nathan Darrow / Andrew Madoff

The House of Cards actor has the square jaw, winged hair, and grim visage to play Madoff’s younger son, who died in 2014 of lymphoma.

(Photo: HBO/Getty)

Alessandro Nivola / Mark Madoff

Nivola doesn’t look like the elder Madoff brother as much as Darrow does with Andrew, but his eyes are eerily identical to his counterpart. Mark committed suicide in 2010.

(Photo: HBO/Getty)

Kristen Connelly / Stephanie Madoff

Connelly could be the twin of Mark’s wife, Stephanie, with her big blue eyes and sweetheart face. Stephanie had two children with Mark before she became a widow.

(Photo: HBO/Getty)

Michael Kostroff / Peter Madoff

The actor bears little resemblance to Bernie’s brother and longtime business partner, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his part in the Ponzi scheme.

(Photo: Getty)

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