Gambit (2012 film)
|Directed by||Michael Hoffman|
|Written by||Joel Coen
|Story by||Sidney Carroll|
|Music by||Rolfe Kent|
|Distributed by||CBS Films|
|Running time||89 minutes|
Gambit is a 2012 film directed by Michael Hoffman, starring Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman and Stanley Tucci. It is a remake of the 1966 film of the same name starring Shirley MacLaine and Michael Caine. This version is scripted by Joel and Ethan Coen. It was set to be released in the United States on 12 October 2012, but the date has now been set for an undetermined 2013 release. The film was released in Great Britain on 21 November 2012.
Plot synopsis 
British art curator Harry Deane decides to seek revenge on his abusive boss Lord Shabandar by conning him into buying a fake Monet ("Haystacks at Dusk"), but his plan requires the help of an unpredictable and eccentric Texas rodeo queen, PJ Puznowski.
- Colin Firth as Harry Deane
- Cameron Diaz as PJ Puznowski
- Alan Rickman as Lord Lionel Shahbandar
- Tom Courtenay as The Major
- Stanley Tucci as Zaidenweber
- Cloris Leachman as Grandma
- Togo Igawa as Takagawa
A remake of Gambit had been mooted for several years. Producer Mike Lobell saw the original film at its London premiere in 1966, and in 1997, Lobell, who was then working at Universal, was looking for a film to remake; he suggested Gambit and Universal approved it. He initially sent the original script to Aaron Sorkin to rewrite it; however, despite being keen to work on the project, the success of Sports Night and more especially The West Wing meant that he couldn't commit to completing the rewrite. After Sorkin pulled out, Lobell met British producer Andy Paterson, director Anand Tucker and writer Frank Cottrell Boyce. Boyce produced a script moving the story to Japan; despite this Lobell didn't think it was funny enough and decided to move on. Hearing that Joel and Ethan Coen were looking for some rewrite work between films, Lobell gave them the script and they produced a "radical overhaul", moving the story to the United States. Despite having the Coen brothers on board the project remained in development hell. Initially, Alexander Payne was keen to work on it, reuniting with Election star Reese Witherspoon, but was reluctant to work on a script he didn't write.
Witherspoon was keen to remain on the project but only if producer Lobell could get Mike Nichols or Robert Altman to direct. After the success of Gosford Park, Altman was keen to make another film in Britain, especially as Witherspoon was attached. However, prior to signing on, Altman backed out, feeling that the material was not suitable for him. Nichols wasn't interested and the project stalled.
Bo Welch was then attached to the project with Colin Firth starring as Harry Deane, with Jennifer Aniston and Ben Kingsley attached. After the box office failure of Welch's 2003 live action film of Dr Seuss's The Cat in the Hat Universal got cold feet and the project was again put into turnaround. Outside of the studio system Lobell moved between different financiers in a bid to get the project moving. One group, Alcon Entertainment, had Gerard Butler lined up as Harry Deane, with Richard LaGravenese directing. LaGravenese wanted a script polish, which took a long time, removing a lot of the work the Coen Brothers had done. Again the project was stalled.
Speaking in September 2008, Colin Firth was asked about whether he would take the role of Harry Deane, and said, "No! It's a complete lie. It's been on IMDb and just sitting there." He also said: "The Coen brothers have written an absolutely brilliant script." Others reportedly discussed for the remake included Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock.
The script was well known around Hollywood and in 2009 Lobell took a call from Roeg Sutherland at CAA. Sutherland knew of a fledgling production company, Crime Scene Pictures, with equity financing from Southeast Asia, who were looking for a marquee project for their new company and were keen to get Gambit made. In 2010, Doug Liman was reportedly considering directing the film. Although initially reluctant to take the project, Lobell persuaded Michael Hoffman to helm the film, and filming finally began in London in May 2011.
In February 2011, John Underwood of bestforfilm.com reported that Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz were set to star as art curator Harry Deane and steer roper PJ Puznowski, who conspire to sell a fake work of art to a collector. On May 15, 2011, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Stanley Tucci and Cloris Leachman had joined a cast that also included Alan Rickman and Tom Courtenay. The music is by Rolfe Kent, whose previous films include Up in the Air, Legally Blonde and Sideways.
The film performed poorly at the box office, grossing only $1,957,362 in its UK run.
- "Rolfe Kent to Score 'Gambit'". FilmMusicReporter.com. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
- "Release dates for Gambit". IMDb. Amazon.com. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
- "CBS Films Move 'Seven Psychopaths' up to October 12th, Delay 'Gambit' to Winter 2013". IndieWire. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
- "A 14-Year 'Gambit' Finally Provides a Big Payoff for Producer Mike Lobell". Deadline.com. 2 September 2012.
- "The Long Walk To Colin Firth". Sight & Sound (BFI): 16–17. November 2012.
- "Colin Firth Says Coen Brothers Film 'Gambit' Not Happening". MTV.com. Retrieved 19 September 2008.
- "'Fair Game' Director Doug Liman Circles Coen Brothers-Scripted 'Gambit' Redo". Deadline.com. Retrieved April 29, 2010.
- "'Gambit' Remake Gets Funding And Director". Deadline.com. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
- "Firth and Diaz to star in Coen-scripted Gambit remake". Bestforfilm.com. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- Reports in Coventry Telegraph 15 July 2011, and Kenilworth Weekly News 22 July 2011, and a press release from Compton Verney on completion of filming.
- "Gambit (2012)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
- "Gambit (2013) - International Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 1 January 2013.