Gambit (1966) & Coen’s Gambit (2009)?

http://www.awardsdaily.com/blog/gambit-1966-coens-gambit-2009/

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:

1966…………………….2008
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.

19 Comment

  1. This is the first I am hearing of this, lol. Like you, anything Coen, I’m game.

  2. I adore Jennifer Aniston. There. I said it.

    This has actually been on the cards for quite some time. Admittedly, I only know this because I keep a watchful eye on Aniston’s projects, keenly waiting for another “Good Girl”-calibre project that can get her the Oscar nomination of which she was robbed in 2002.

    Gotta run, the IMDB kids are presently bashing in my door, armed with stones and torches.

  3. I don’t have anything against Jennifer Aniston, Guy. I’ve only ever seen about 5 episodes of Friends in my life, so maybe that helps me be objective.

    I liked her in The Break-Up, too. I love how nobody told her it was a comedy — and that’s what made her scenes feel like she was the only normal human in the movie.

    Cheer up about the Oscar, Guy. Jennifer Aniston has won Sweden’s Aftonbladet TV Prize 4 years in a row — for bästa utländska kvinnliga tv-personlighet.

    (No, not an award for most “outlandish cunnilingus.” Grow up. It’s Best Foreign TV Personality – Female)

  4. Thanks for that info, Ryan – my years of campaigning to the Swedish Academy of Televisual Arts obviously paid off!

  5. Do you think Magneto will be the villain?

  6. Aniston was phenomenal in The Good Girl. I think the Coens could be a good fit for her, to be honest.

  7. You won’t hear any complaints from me about Aniston — as long as she’s appropriately cast. Although her range isn’t that broad, I think she’s very good at light comedy and has made some solid attempts to extend her repertoire. Holly Hunter did well in Raising Arizona, and I think Aniston could be a great fit with the right Coen brothers project.

  8. Add me to the imdb groans. Aniston doesn’t know how to be anything but different variations of Rachel Green. On top of that she’s now best known for her tabloid life than her acting. She’s currently playing who-dumped-who or is it whom? with John Mayer. Whatevs. If this ever gets made I seriously doubt she’ll be cast.

  9. Remember THE BREAK-UP, that summer blockbuster comedy that made some cash because nothing else was out, and promptly was forgotten by everyone? Man Aniston was fucking boring in that one, as was Vince Vaughn.*

    But if the Coens really are serious about casting her….surely they know what they’re doing, right?

    Of course, LADYKILLERS puts a doubt in that, doesn’t it?

    *=Hey Vince, if you read this…what the fuck happened dude? FRED CLAUS? You’re better than this shit. I mean you see Jon Favreau still coasting on SWINGERS? No, he’s doing coca(cola) off his IRON MAN money. Get off your drunk ass and be cool again man.

  10. Bad news RRA, Vince is doing another Christmas film.

  11. I ADORE the original. I’d buy it if it were available.

    GOD, I had such a thing for MICHAEL CAINE growing up. He was a tall, blond, blue eyed Brit. What more could I possibly want?

    My favourite part is when he instructed SHIRLEY to go into the case that holds the precious jewel. She’s smaller and slighter than him so it will be easier for her to retrieve it.

    She climbs out stealthily with it in her hand. Home free, we think.

    Then he leans over (SO BLOODY SEXY), says, “You’re a very clever girl…and I love you,” in that awesome accent and kisses her.

    Immediately after, the alarm goes off.

    But the Coens are doing the remake…????

    Hmmm…

    I don’t know about that.

  12. theunusualsubject – …..NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

  13. *grabs hold of RRA, slaps him once* Get a hold of yourself man! It will be ok. We made it through Fred Clause we will make it through Four Christmases or whatever this one is called.

  14. The last Coen Brothers remake was a disaster (The Ladykillers). I just hope Gambit doesn’t similarly fall flat. As for the cast, Ben Kingsley is solid obviously. I don’t hate Jennifer Aniston but I don’t particularly love her either. I don’t know about her. And I really don’t like Colin Firth; never have.

  15. this worries me, yet I remain slightly optimistic. The problem with Colin Firth and Ben Kingsley is that they are really good actors (Sir Ben gets two reallys) who have been in schlock and their names alone in a line up don’t guarantee greatness. I think the Coens benefit from the quality of their actors, so with these two on board, I’m hopeful.

    As for Rach..er uh Jennifer Aniston I’m not a fan and agree with Down goes Frasier that she essentially repeats the same role. What about Amy Adams? Now there’s a gal whose shown tremendous range, has been under the Coen family tutelage (with her work with Frances earlier this year) and definitely has the acting chops to appear with the Brits.

  16. No, but wait, RRA! You haven’t even heard the jolly plot!

    “A couple struggle to visit all four of their divorced parents on Christmas Day.”

    So see? It’ll be like ‘Christmas with the Kranks’ meets ‘Meet the Fockers’!! Bring the whole family on Christmas Day! Jingle all the way to the box office!

    [a single sharp pop is heard over the phone]

    There ya go, RRA! Opening a bottle of champagne, are we? That’s the ho! ho! holiday spirit! A Jack Frosty glass of bubbly to tickle your nose the way Four Christmases will tickle your funny bone!

    RRA? … RRA…!??

    [Hangs up. Dials 911.]

  17. Haroldsmaude,

    Love your Amy Adams suggestion for the Shirley MacLaine role. Finally caught up with Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day last night and saw Amy Adams steal scene after scene from a very fine cast.

    Hope the Coens toughen up the whole movie, and Sir Ben plays the art collector like a cross between Sexy Beast and the Slavic cop in Transsiberian.

    Would rather see Clive Owen rather than Colin Firth in the Michael Caine role.

  18. Ahhhhh! — Amy Adams!

  19. I’m still hoping it’s a X-Men spin off

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