Update: James Toback is apparently not involved in the remake and is not very happy about it either. Read a letter he wrote about it over at Deadline.
Well I think it’s safe to say that Leonardo DiCaprio has pretty much replaced Robert DeNiro as Martin Scorsese’s current on-screen muse. Although Scorsese’s upcoming film Hugo is the first fictional feature that he has done without DiCaprio since 1999’s Bringing Out the Dead, at this point, it’s almost guaranteed that DiCaprio will be rumoured to star in any new project that Martin Scorsese attaches himself to. DiCaprio was reportedly being considered for the lead in his Frank Sinatra biopic, and now Deadline is reporting that he is attached to headline a Scorsese-directed remake of The Gambler for Paramount. What’s more, The Departed screenwriter William Monahan is on board to reteam with Scorsese on the project as well.
The original 1974 version of The Gambler starred James Caan as an English professor whose gambling addiction spirals out of control, forcing him to seek help from the people around him in increasingly more extreme ways. It was directed by Karel Reisz and written by James Toback, based loosely on Dostoyevsky’s short novel of the same name and also on Toback’s own struggles with gambling addiction.
Admittedly, it seems like a bit of a strange choice for a remake, but we can probably assume that this is a passion project of sorts for Scorsese considering that he and Toback were both a part of the same ’70s New York City film scene. What do you think? Is The Gambler a movie that deserves an update and is Leonardo DiCaprio the right guy to take over for James Caan? Have you been a fan of all of Scorsese and DiCaprio’s previous collaborations?