It could be argued that every film by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen is a variation on the heist film — even Raising Arizona (heisting a baby) and The Big Lebowski (heisting a rug. “It really tied the room together”) revolve around the theme of absconding with somebody else’s belongings.
So it’s no real surprise to find that the Coen Brothers have written a script to remake the 1966 art-world heist movie, Gambit. Just surprised that I didn’t know about this sooner. Joel and Ethan are only listed as the screenwriters. No director attached at this point, but there’s a rumored cast:
Michael Caine……….Colin Firth………….Harry Dean
Shirley MacLaine….Jennifer Aniston…Nicole Chang
Herbert Lom………..Ben Kingsley……..Ahmad Shahbandar
Ronald Neame directed the original and I was lucky enough to find a copy to watch this weekend (not available on DVD). It’s a nice international romp in the same vein as How to Steal a Million (1966) and Topkapi (1964) — two films whose arch style and switchback plot pacing remind me a lot of Burn After Reading. I kinda wish the Coens would direct Gambit too. It’ll risk being a cookie-cutter genre homage without their offbeat touch.
If you’re groaning about Jennifer Aniston, then congratulations, you might be an IMDb kid. Half of the messages on the boards about Gambit are having a fit about casting “Rachel” as a modern-day replacement for Shirley MacLaine. (The other half seem unwilling to give up on the notion that Gambit is an X-Men spin-off.) Me, I just want as many Coen brothers movies in the works as they can manage to juggle.