Over the weekend, Paramount Pictures announced that Martin Scosese was eyeing a remake of the 1970s drama "The Gambler," and that he wanted (big surprise) Leonardo DiCaprio to star.
This was pretty big news. It was even bigger news to director James Toback ("Harvard Man"), who is working on his own remake of "The Gambler."
According to Deadline, fellow director and friend Brett Ratner broke the news to Toback (after reading it on Deadline - how meta) and, well, Toback was less than thrilled. Ever the screenwriter, Toback recounts the incident thusly:
Close to 3 AM on this past Friday I got my daily call from my friend and LA housemate, Brett Ratner. I was at my desk working on my 22nd revision of the John DeLorean script I was hired by Reliance and Ratner to write with Ratner directing and the legendary Bob Evans producing.
“What are you doing?” Brett asked.
“What do you think?” I said. “This is by far the toughest script to get right of any I’ve written in 35 years.”
“What about THE GAMBLER?”
“That was lightening fast and easy,” I said. “Of course, it was my own story.”
“That’s not what I meant,” he said. “Did you read Nikki Finke?”
“Always,” I said.
“What are you getting at?” I asked.
“She just reported that DiCaprio and Scorcese are remaking THE GAMBLER at Paramount.”
“Not my GAMBLER!” I said. “That’s not possible! No one said a word to me!”
“Who owns it?” Ratner asked.
“I guess they didn’t have to.”
“Legally, I guess you’re right,” I said.
“Maybe that’s all anyone gives a f*** about: whether something is legal.”
Now the question becomes: Does the combined might of ScorsePrio muscle Toback out of the picture, or wil we have dueling "Gambler" projects coming our way? I mean, Toback is friends with Brett Ratner, you know.