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The 1980s were undoubtedly the best years of Jessica Lange’s film career, with five of six Oscar nominations coming then, including her Best Supporting Actress win for 1982’s Tootsie. She has earned a rare cyclical success for her deliciously outlandish roles on FX’s American Horror Story for the last three years, garnering both an Emmy and a Golden Globe. She won’t be returning after the fourth season, allowing a lot more time to get back into features full force, and we can now expect to see her in Paramount’s upcoming remake of Karel Reisz’s 1974 hit The Gambler. This is one of those instances where you know when to hold ‘em.
We can expect this remake to be pretty big, as Lange joins box office champion Mark Whalberg as his mother, according to Deadline. It will be directed by Rupert Wyatt, who rocked the box office himself with another sorta-remake, 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Add in Oscar-winning screenwriter William Monahan (The Departed) and Brie Larson (Short Term 12), and there’s enough talent involved to make you forget this is yet another uncalled for Hollywood updating.
The film will probably follow the original’s storyline with a few change-ups to keep things interesting. Wahlberg will take over the role made famous by James Caan as a gambler who doesn’t know when to quit, even when it could ruin his life. He loses all of his money and is forced to borrow money from everyone around him, including his girlfriend (Larson) and his mother (Lange). Desperation then puts leads him down even more degrading paths, but such is the life of a gambling man. If Lange plays this role with even a quarter of the contempt-filled rage that she’s capable of, Wahlberg really should have known better.
AHS is really the majority of what Lange has kept busy with the last few years. She played Rachel McAdams’ mother in Michael Sucsy’s 2012 romance The Vow and will soon be seen in Charlie Stratton’s Paris-in-the-1860s thriller In Secret, opposite Elizabeth Olsen and Oscar Isaac. And of course she’s signed up for that fourth season of FX’s hit series. For her role of witch Supreme Fiona , Lange recently received her 14th Golden Globe nomination as well as her fifth Screen Actors Guild Award.
There’s no word yet on when The Gambler will go into production, but it doesn’t seem like there will be too much more casting to do, unless Monahan’s script has added or fleshed out a few additional roles. Something I can say with a fair amount of certainty is that there won’t be any all-out musical numbers during the movie, something that Lange proved herself still adequate at in a particularly absurd episode of last season’s American Horror Story: Asylum. You can watch it, watch it, bo botch it below.