By Simon Dang | The Playlist December 12, 2010 at 5:40AM
This year's first batch of new high-profile television shows have already proven to be hits, particularly "Boardwalk Empire" and "The Walking Dead," but one of the upcoming projects which has us excited as ever is David Milch and Michael Mann's horse-racing drama "Luck."
The series already has a full season pick up and will likely debut next year on HBO to high expectations considering the duo of Milch and Mann have celebrated projects like "Deadwood," "Public Enemies," and "The Insider" under their belts. "The Luck" will surely rival the expansive aforementioned Scorsese/Winter production "Boardwalk Empire," as Dustin Hoffman will be starring as the ex-con gambler, Ace Bernstein, in a period story taking a "provocative look at horse racing [through the eyes of] the owners, gamblers, jockeys and industry players."
The latest addition to the already hugely exciting production? Veteran Irish-born British thespian Michael Gambon -- who previously collaborated with Mann on "The Insider" -- has now joined the project and is set to play a yet-to-be-named, recurring character described as a nemesis/worthy adversary for Hoffman's Bernstein character.
The cast also boasts the stellar likes of Dennis Farina who plays Ace's right hand man, Nick Nolte as a former famous trainer named The Old Man, John Ortiz as a Peruvian trainer with a seedy reputation known as 'Escalante,' Joan Allen plays a woman who runs a prison program that uses inmates to care for broken-down racehorses, Richard Kind as a forty-something jockey's agent, Ian Hart as a loudmouth gambler who runs into some cash, Kevin Dunn plays a misanthropic ringmaster of a syndicate of misfits, Kerry Condon's role is that of an exercise rider of one of The Old Man's horses, Tom Payne as an apprentice rider being eyed for recruitment by Condon and lastly Patrick J. Adams as a mysterious character who works closely with Bernstein. Whew.
And if for some reason the prospect of this cast on the small screen under the guidance of Milch and Mann week in week out hasn't caught your attention? Mann has described the appeal of the series on "a quartet of degenerate gamblers who could have walked straight off the pages of a Charles Bukowski novel" and Milch's script as "one of the two best ever handed to him -- the other was Eric Roth's script for Robert De Niro's 'The Good Shepherd.'"
Hoffman also previously discussed his own transition to television. “I had to rethink the way I’ve been working for the last 40 years. A play is a play, a film is a film –that’s all I have done. But the preparation is different [in television],” he explained to Financial Times. “When you’re doing a play or film, you have to declare who you are as a character. If it’s a play, you can grow from performance to performance. You grow into the part, even though the lines are the same,” he continued. “In film, you can’t do that. But with television, you can continue to develop and alter the character. Nothing is set in stone…where you would not make a left turn with a film character, suddenly you can make a right turn.”
A January 2011 premiere was originally being eyed but with the pick up of the 10-hour series, the premiere date has unfortunately now been pushed to late 2011/early 2012. [Deadline]