Martin Scorsese Reunites with THE DEPARTED Writer William Monahan for THE GAMBLER Remake; Paramount Eyeing Leonardo DiCaprio to Star

     August 26, 2011


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.

the-gambler-movie-posterHere’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]

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  • Brooke VanSanten

    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.

  • Rovena

    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.

    • Agent_Black

      After the total waste of time that was Righteous Kill I hope i never see these actors in the same movie again, they’re has-beens. Pacino hasn’t made a decent film since Insomnia and De Niro’s last half decent role was Jackie Brown and he phoned in that performance too.

      Leave it to DiCaprio and other actors who still have a passion for their work at least.

  • Jake

    I was hoping he would make that Silence movie, a sequel to the Departed, the Frank Sinatra biopic, the two movies he’s going to do with Robert DeNiro. The man is a machine, but can’t decide what he wants to do first.

    • Agent_Black

      Di Niro’s resume from the last 15 years reads like a retired man taking the easy money. Fair play to him, he deserves it for the performances he put in for This Boys Life, Taxi Driver, Mean Streets and Goodfella’s etc but you won’t catch me watching anything he’s in if I can help it.

      Scorsese and DiCaprio is the future now, going back to Di Niro would be a step backwards. De Niro’s time has gone.

  • plainview

    i don’t see this moving forward for the next five years.

    Silence is locked as his next film. he already did a “3 for them, 1 for me” for the studio(the departed, shutter island and now Hugo). it’s not that he wasn’t passionate about those projects, but it was the studio who approached him for it. Silence on the other hand is Scorsese’s baby.. he wanted to do it since he finished Gangs of New York. also, after Silence, there is The Irishman, and De Niro is very passionate about that.

    The Gambler may happen after The Irishman, but if Sinatra isn’t yet polished.

    then again, who would have thought Hugo would sneak in after Shutter Island. personally, i’d want Silence, The Irishman, Sinatra, then this Gambler project.

  • JasonMan

    You deduction of “people” liking The Departed is bad. Some liked it and some who can actually look at a film objectively realized how bad and racist The Departed is.

    Interesting that you don’t even point out the obvious connection between that bad movie and this one coming up. The Departed was an (inferior) remake of the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs and this project just so happens to be another remake.

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  • Jdsmothe

    I would like to see him do these movies in order: Sinatra, The Irishman (WITH De Niro and Pacino, fk all you haters if anyone can pull another great performance from De Niro it will be Scorsee), The Gambler, Silence, and if he really absolutely has to the Richard Burton/Elizabeth Taylor love picture…which sounds absolutely boring. All I can do is hope and pray that Sinatra will get made soon, it has even more potential then The Aviator and I am in love with that movie.

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