By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist August 27, 2011 at 2:22AM
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.