The 2014 film, “The Gambler,” is a 111-minute Paramount Pictures remake of the 1974 film of the same name that starred James Caan. This version had a $25 million budget, was directed by Rupert Wyatt and written by William Monahan. The film was originally supposed to be directed by Martin Scorcese and star Leonardo DiCaprio, but delays in the project resulted in their departure.
The film stars Mark Wahlberg as Jim Bennett, an English Literature professor with a severe gambling problem. He owes $260,000 to a bookie and $50,000 to a loan shark, and convinces his wealthy mother Roberta (played by Jessica Lange) to lend him the money. However, having begun a relationship with one of his students, Amy (played by Brie Larson), he gambles that money away.
The loan shark kidnaps him and forces him to make one of his students, a basketball player, to shave points in order to cover a bet, or Amy will be killed. Desperate, Bennett goes to another loan shark, Frank (played by John Goodman), who lends him the $260,000 to pay off the bookie.
Bennett uses the $150,000 he received from the original loan shark to bribe the basketball player, then sends another of his students, Dexter (played by Ethan Cohen) to Las Vegas to place the $260,000 bet down. After Bennett wins, he pays off the bookie and meets the two loan sharks at a gambling den, where he wagers the money he needs to pay off the loan sharks and wins. He then meets up with Amy and renounces gambling.
The film began shooting in January 2014 and was released later that year on Christmas Day. After its theatrical run, it’s expected to be available on iTunes at some point during the spring of 2015.