Considering it won four Oscars, I’d venture to say that, for the most part, people liked 2006’s The Departed. By that same logic, one would think that reuniting some of the most prominent talent from that film for another crime drama is a good recipe for success. At least Paramount hopes. According to THR, the studio has tapped Martin Scorsese to direct a remake of 1974’s The Gambler starring James Caan and has brought screenwriter William Monahan on board to pen the script. But wait, the good news doesn’t stop there.
Per the report, Paramount is also interested in landing Leonardo DiCaprio to reprise Caan’s role (for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe) as Axel Freed, an English professor from New York whose gambling addiction causes a slew of twists and turns. Unlike Scorsese and Monahan, DiCaprio is not yet attached to the remake. Nevertheless, I’d guess that the talent behind it has to be enough for the film to at least be on the highly coveted actor’s radar. Directed by Karel Reisz, the original was based on a short novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. For a little more on the pic, hit the jump for a full plot synopsis.
Here’s a synopsis for 1974’s The Gambler:
Axel Freed is a New York City English professor with a gambling addiction that begins to spiral out of control. In the classroom, Freed inspires his college students with his interpretations of Dostoevsky’s work. In his personal life, Axel has the affection of the beautiful Billie and the admiration of his family, including his mother Naomi, a doctor, and his grandfather, a wealthy businessman.
Unbeknownst to them, Axel’s reckless gambling on basketball games has left him with a huge debt. His bookie Hips likes the professor personally but threatens grave consequences if he doesn’t pay up.
Axel’s descent into addiction requires him to extort a hefty $44,000 from his mortified mother to repay what he owes. He goes away with Billie to a casino where he makes a small fortune, only to blow it all again on basketball bets. He takes out his anger on Billie, who does not appreciate having loan sharks come to their apartment in the middle of the night. Expecting help from his grandfather, Axel gets nothing but the older man’s disappointment and disgust.
The only solution left is to lure one of his students, a basketball star, into accepting a bribe to shave points in a game so that Axel can pay off his debts. Having corrupted a previously innocent youth, Axel is so appalled by his own behavior that he masochistically confronts a dangerous man who leaves him with a bloody and permanent reminder of his actions. [Wikipedia]