Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen, Luck is coming to TV early next year. HBO showed off its new runner during the premiere of Boardwalk Empire to whet potential fan appetites for racing, gambling, and other good clean fun.
Luck will focus on Ace Bernestein, played by big-screen veteran Dustin Hoffman in his debut as a television regular. Ace is a long-time tough guy working for various gambling rackets who becomes interested in horse racing after serving a three-year prison sentence. Nick Nolte (Warrior) will play an experienced horse trainer looking for a second chance.
On the other side of the camera, celebrated director Michael Mann will be serving as executive producer and directing the pilot episode, which was written by Deadwood creator David Milch. Milch himself is a horse racing enthusiast, saying, “It’s a subject which has engaged and some might say has compelled me for 50 years.”
The gambling and other criminal aspects in Luck paint a much darker picture of the sport than Hollywood has shown in recent years. High-profile movies like Seabiscuit and last year’s Secretariat are mostly inspirational fare – not to mention a lot tamer than HBO’s typical TV-MA original series. Luck is shaping up to be a no-compromise dark drama, if not an outright crime thriller.
Judge for yourself with the official Luck trailer:
Forty-five seconds isn’t a lot to go on (though Game of Thrones fans might start swinging war hammers for that much footage) but you can definitely tell the direction that Mann and Milch are going in. Horse racing is a rich sport with a lot of different facets to cover – trainers, owners, jockeys, track personnel and of course gamblers – so there’s a lot of material for Milch and the other writers to work with.
Luck is currently set for a January premiere. For a behind-the-scenes look, check out HBO’s production feature.
Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelCrider
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