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1974 Gambling Movie Makes a Comeback

I remember WAAAY back in 1974, watching The Gambler with my dad.   The movie is based (sort of) on the novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky and tells the tale of an English professor who is battling his addiction to gambling and how this addiction spirals out of control until it endangers even his own college students.  The Gambler starred James Caan and Lauren Hutton, two Hollywood greats, who make this movie a must to see.

Fast forward to 2011, and news coming out of Hollywood is that producer Martin Scorsese is moving towards creating a remake of The Gambler, with the lead role probably being played by Leonardo DiCaprio.  Nothing has been finalized yet and it is said that the parties are still in negotiations, but if things work out, it should be a great match between two industry greats.

This isn’t the first time that Scorsese and DiCaprio are working together.  In fact, if The Gambler takes off and is filmed, it will be the fifth project between the two.  One of their most successful movies together was the 2006 The Departed.

It will be interesting to see DiCaprio take the role of the English professor, Axel Freed.  There is no doubt that the Titanic star is great starring in intense roles and has a knack for creating absolutely believable characters (which is why he is currently one of the most highly paid actors in Hollywood).  But will he do a better job than James Caan from the original movie in 1974?  Caan was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in the movie, and it was made all the more believable because at the time of filming, he was battling his own addiction, albeit to cocaine.

In the meantime, I also heard that the original creator of the gambling movieThe Gambler, James Toback, was insulted with the way he found out about a possible remake of the movie… through the gossip columns like the rest of the world.  Penning a heartfelt letter to the media, he wrote: “So learning of the plan to “remake” my movie at the same time and in the same fashion as any other devoted reader of this esteemed column, I suppose I should feel… what? That a tribute is being paid to a creation I left behind? I suppose. But one doesn’t always feel what one is supposed to feel.”

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