There's a transcendent poetry to stories where characters use specific lingo, and what jargon-heavy profession has a slicker edge than sports gambling, where "dollar" means $100 dollars, and dime means $1,000 dollars?
Seems like the house, or in this case the movie house, is ready to collect a large vig with Stephen Frears' adaptation of Beth Raymer's gambling memoir "Lay the Favorite, Take the Dog."
Vulture has given us the hot tip that the Focus Features' bankrolled film is getting down on Bruce Willis in the lead, but hedging their bet with co-stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Justin Timberlake, and "The Town"'s ultra hot Rebecca Hall.
A juicy role for Hall, Raymer is a Columbia University MFA who stripped her way through undergrad and had a sideline as a Golden Gloves boxer. Willis will play Dink Heimowitz, a degenerate gambler who teaches Raymer the ropes, until she's fired when Dink's wife Tulip (Zeta-Jones) becomes jealous of her.
Timberlake will portray her other mentor Rosie, with whom she started a bookie operation that made some serious cash, including a million-and-a-half dollars over the nine-day span of the 2004 NBA finals. In the book Rosie (i.e. Bernard Rose) weighed 375-lbs, so if Justin decides to go fatsuit on us expect him to bring sexy back to chubby chasers.
Frears is the English director of an eclectic array of films, from the music slacker masterpiece "High Fidelity" to the stately biopic "The Queen," and has handled similar wheeler-dealer territory with 1990's con men picture "The Grifters." Those who were lucky enough to catch last year's charming "Tamara Drewe" know that the 69-year-old helmer has still got it in spades, and will bring his trademark black-comic wit to the high-stakes proceedings.
With a spread like this, odds-makers should expect shooting in April to yield big payoff at the finish line.