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Martin Scorsese To Direct Remake Of James Caan's 'The Gambler,' Leonardo DiCaprio To Star

by Kevin Jagernauth
August 27, 2011 2:22 AM
9 Comments
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Update: Deadline reports that Leonardo DiCaprio will star. Damn.

Martin Scorsese had been nominated for Best Director five times before the Academy finally honored him with an Oscar in 2006 for "The Departed." That film, a remake of "Infernal Affairs," found a potent pairing in Scorsese and screenwriter William Monahan, who relocated the film's original Asian setting to the mean streets of Boston, reimagining the tale against the backdrop of the Irish mob. While it's not Scorsese's best movie, there is no denying it's a crackerjack piece of entertainment, operating a few levels higher than similarly themed films. Well, as Scorsese nears the finish line on his latest, the 3D family film "Hugo," he's looking to get gritty again and is reteaming with Monahan for another remake.

THR reports the director and writer will put their own spin on Karel Reisz's 1974 film "The Gambler." That film, originally written by James Toback and starring James Caan, is an adaptation of the Fyodor Dostoyevsky story, and told the tale of a successful English professor who succumbs to a gambling addition, which forces him to extort money from this mother and convince one of his students to shave points in a basketball game. There's no word yet on what spin Scorsese and Monahan will bring to the table, but certainly returning to the New York setting of Reisz's film will be familiar ground for the director.

Of course, the big question for Scorsese remains: what's next? For years he's been trying to get his Jesuit priest drama "Silence" off the ground and this winter we were told it was next. The good news is that it appears to still be plan with the trade reporting he's "preparing to direct" the picture. The trade also reports that Scorsese is still attached to direct "The Wolf of Wall Street" with Leonardo DiCaprio to star, but the director actually left the project earlier this year when Warner Bros. let it go, but given his relationship with the actor, we sure he's keeping an eye on it. He was also said to be eyeing the Hollywood tale of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton and perhaps the awesomest project of them all: "The Five Obstructions" with Lars von Trier. No word has been heard on that project since von Trier made a jackass of himself at Cannes where it was announced, but we really hope it's still in the works. But of all the tentative projects outside of "Silence," "The Gambler" is definitely the most concrete news we've heard in a while and it looks like Scorsese is lining up a one-for-me, one-for-them series of movies.

At 68 years old, Scorsese seems even busier than ever. This year alone has seen him help get Kenneth Lonergan's "Margaret" in the can, complete his epic George Harrison documentary which hits HBO this fall, and course, get his first 3D family film into theaters at Thanksgiving. And say what you will about remakes/sequels, but Scorsese's track record -- "Cape Fear," "The Color of Money," "The Departed" -- while not all perfect, have at least shown a thoughtful approach, so we're exceedingly excited and curious to see what he'll pull together here.

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9 Comments

  • Rovena | August 27, 2011 6:05 AMReply

    I wish Marty would make Sinatra next. I can’t wait to see Robert De Niro as Dean Martin and Al Pacino as Frank Sinatra.

  • Jessica Holden | August 27, 2011 6:05 AMReply

    Martin Scorsese’s college film professor and mentor Haig Manoogian (who he dedicated Raging Bull to at the beginning of the end credits) was Armenian. A lot of people don’t know that.

  • hank | August 27, 2011 4:34 AMReply

    what happened to "The Irishman" AKA "I Heard You Paint Houses" with DeNiro, Pacino, Pesci, etc ?

    eh, prob wasn't the best idea anyway.

  • TheoC | August 27, 2011 4:26 AMReply

    I don't know the movie at all but what a cool poster.

  • Ben | August 27, 2011 3:37 AMReply

    What happened to DiCaprio's "The Devil in the White City"?

  • Mr. Arkadin | August 27, 2011 3:16 AMReply

    I'm kinda fanboyish with this film - yes, I realize it's not a particularly good film - , I really don't like this as a remake even with Marty on the helm. But I'm curious who will take the role of Burt Young, who was surprisingly awesome in the original. And if this gets the remake of Shinoda's brilliant "Chinmoku" of the ground, I'm all for it.

  • buntyhoven | August 27, 2011 2:50 AMReply

    Deadline says DiCaprio attached to star. FUCK YEAH. DiCaprio!

  • Gabriel | August 27, 2011 2:43 AMReply

    If you guys get an interview with Scorsese for the GH doc or Hugo, please ask him the status of:

    a) The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp Restoration - last I heard, they were looking for the middle portion's camera negative, and that was during the SI press tour, so hopefully it may premiere at Cannes '12 a la Red Shoes in '09. But still curious about status.

    b) The British Film History doc in the vein of "My Voyage To Italy" and "Personal Journey Through American Movies." I know you guys got a status update about this in '09: http://theplaylist.blogspot.com/2009/05/scorsese-editor-gear-up-for-british.html

    But still curious as to when/if we can expect to see that film as well. It's been awhile since one of Marty's "film history" docs came out, exempting Letter To Elia.

    Anyhoo, thanks and love the site!

  • The Playlist | August 27, 2011 1:38 AMReply

    Just because a project isn't mentioned and or a director signs on to DEVELOP a new film doesn't means the other films he's developing are dead. That said, "Sinatra" is the most difficult ones because a script has to be approved and massaged and there's a "LEGACY" and REPUTATION to uphold. If it's too warts and all, the estate won't approve. If it's too sanitized the director will bail. So that's probably a very intricate song and dance and if it happens, I bet it will be a few years off.

    I do think I Heard You Paint Houses will happen, because all those players DeNiro/Scoreses/Pacino want to team-up, but I hope they improve the script, because i put it down after 20 pages -- it felt so routinely Goodfellas-esque that it felt completely unimaginative and uninspired.

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