The international trailer for Gambit – a remake of the 1966 caper classic starring Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine – features such oddball sights as a naked Alan Rickman lounging about his office, Colin Firth facing museum security in the form of a lion, and Cameron Diaz as a dyed-in-the-wool cowgirl.
Joel and Ethan Coen wrote the script, which accounts for the sheer overabundance of outlandish characters and off-the-wall humor. Directing duties however, were handled by Michael Hoffman, whose credits include the Shakespeare adaptation A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1998) and the Oscar-nominated Tolstoy drama The Last Station. So, as you might’ve expected, Gambit doesn’t have quite the same peculiar feel and look as your average Coen Brothers project.
Harry Dean’s (Firth) plan to steal a painting from one of the world’s richest men (Rickman) is missing one final component — the participation of a beautiful woman to act as his gambit. In Nicole (Diaz), he meets someone who appears to be the perfect candidate, but Harry himself becomes enraptured with her, causing his plan to take a series of wrong turns.
The Coen Brother have been editing their own films for years now – credited under the pseudonym Roderick Jaynes – but, for Gambit, that task was instead picked up by frequent Joe Wright collaborator Paul Tothill (Atonement, Hannah). Other personnel worth noting include the three-time Oscar-winning production designer Stuart Craig (Harry Potter), director of photography Florian Ballhaus (Marley & Me, RED), and composer Rolfe Kent (Sideways, Up in the Air).
Gambit, in other words, has a lot of talented people working behind the scenes as well as appearing onscreen, including supporting cast members Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games) and Cloris Leachman (Raising Hope). Nonetheless, it doesn’t have the Coen Brothers’ visual touch, nor do the proceedings seem so inspiredly absurd as the filmmakers’ most memorable (and borderline-surreal) comical creations to date, such as Raising Arizona, The Hudsucker Proxy and Big Lebowski.
CBS Films had been eying a late 2012 U.S. release for Gambit at one point, but the film is now tentatively set for a Winter 2013 release (with no official date yet set). It begins opening around Europe this November, so we should have a better idea as to whether this ‘Coen flick’ is a hit-or-miss (or somewhere in between) by the time it reaches the States next year.
Source: CBS Films [via /Film]