Popeater‘s Rob Shuter has filed some unsettling but probably accurate comments about the situation behind Michael Douglas‘s non-verbal appearance at last night’s Wall Street 2 premiere. Thinking about Douglas’s situation makes me shudder and tremble. I’d rather focus on a thought that came to mind last night as I re-considered his Gordon Gekko performance, which is that in one particular scene Douglas does deliver in an award-quality way.

Shia LeBeouf, Michael Douglas, Carey Mulligan at last night’s Wall Street 2 premiere at the Zeigfeld. (Photo by AP’s Evan Agostini.]

I recognize that I may be allowing sentiment to color my judgment to some extent, but I know for certain that Douglas’s moment with Carey Mulligan — a scene on the steps of Manhattan’s Metropolitan Museum during a big party — is a bring-it-homer. It’s the best thing in the film, I feel, and an acting moment that’s coming from a deep-down place. Douglas is obviously using his personal history as a negligent dad (which he’s copped to regarding his son Cameron, who’s now incarcerated following a drug-dealing conviction), and it’s clearly a no-bullshit moment. Mea culpa, I screwed up, I need a break.

I wish Wall Street 2 had afforded Douglas more opportunities along these lines. He’s very comfortable strutting around in Gekko’s skin, and he has the ‘tude and the patter down cold. Plus there’s something about him that feels weary and slumped, a spiritual characteristic in his eyes and skin and graying hair. It’s hard to express but you feel for the guy. I did, at least. I guess I’m saying that I didn’t full appreciate how good Douglas is when I saw the film in Cannes, or that my critical pores are more open to him now with the bad news and all.

Shuter writes that Douglas “exuded a quiet but resolute presence Monday night as he walked the red carpet at the New York premiere of his new movie, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. [But] sources close to the legendary actor tell me he is riddled with fear and finding it difficult to talk.

“‘It’s cancer, of course he is frightened,’ a friend of Michael’s tells me. ‘He’s 65 years old and has everything to live for. His career couldn’t be better and his personal life with beautiful wife, Catherine [Zeta Jones] and kids Dylan and Cary, couldn’t be more perfect. Now this has come along and knocked the entire family off its feet.”

“Michael, who had a difficult time seeing his older son Cameron sentenced to five years in jail for dealing drugs earlier this summer, finally thought the worst was behind him, sources tell me. And then the cancer diagnosis happened.

“‘He’s had an intensive course of radiation and chemotherapy to treat a tumor in his throat,’ an insider tells me. ‘It’s left him feeling very tired and sometimes finding it very difficult to even speak. In a few weeks, we fear he won’t be able to eat or swallow.’

“At the premiere, Michael rushed past photographers, not stopping to pose for many pictures. He also rushed past the many TV crews and reporters without saying a word — making everyone wonder just how well the star was really doing.

“‘He is in a no-win situation,’ a studio source tells me. ‘If Michael didn’t show up, everyone would be talking about him. Yet at the same time if he did show up, the press would see for themselves that he isn’t doing so great.'”