Here’s a triple threat: The very busy Martin Scorsese (he just finished his first family film, ‘Hugo,’ which will hit theaters this Thanksgiving; he’s putting the finishing touches on ‘George Harrison: Living in the Material World’; he’s getting ready for an adaptation of the Shusaku Endo novel ‘Silence’; and there may be a ‘Sinatra’ in his future) has signed on to Paramount’s remake of ‘The Gambler,’ a 1974 film starring James Caan. And who should be attached to star in the redo?
None other than the equally busy Leonardo DiCaprio (‘J. Edgar,’ ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘Django Unchained’), who has starred for the director in ‘The Gangs of New York, ‘The Aviator,’ the 2006 best picture Oscar winner ‘The Departed’ and ‘Shutter island.’ And lined up to pen the redo is William Monahan, who worked with the pair on ‘The Departed.’
The ‘Gambler,’ an angst-ridden, existential film like those so popular in the 1970s, was directed by Karel Reisz (‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’) and written by James Toback (loosely based on the short novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky). It centered on a New York English professor who suffered from a gambling addiction that caused him to extort money from his mother, betray his girlfriend, and convince one of his students to shave points in a basketball game. Lauren Hutton and Paul Sorvino co-starred.
Though no cast or production date has been set for the remake, this is exciting news for Scorsese fans, hopefully bringing the director back to the mean streets of New York where he cut his eyeteeth in the — you guessed it — angst-ridden, existential 1970s.