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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Leonardo DiCaprio to Star in Online Poker Movie

By Dan Cypra

Move over, “Titanic,” there’s a new sheriff in town. Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio will star in an untitled film about internet gambling outfits in Costa Rica, according to the Hollywood Reporter and Entertainment Weekly.

The screenplay will be written by Brian Koppelman and David Levien, who both served in the same capacity in the 1998 film “Rounders,” which turned many of today’s poker prodigies onto the game. According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), “Rounders” marked the first official writing credits for Koppelman and Levien. The duo has also teamed up with DiCaprio to bring “Beat the Reaper” to the big screen. The film, which will be released next year, has the following plot according to IMDB: “ER doctor Peter Brown’s life is turned upside down when he crosses paths with a mobster who appears to know him from his former life as a hitman.”

No release date has been given for DiCaprio’s online poker movie. An article on noted that DiCaprio’s plate is quite full: “DiCaprio has an enormous list of films in pre-production. For the time being, at least, he’ll be working on Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception.’ Whenever he’s finished with that, he will probably have developed five more projects.” IMDB notes that DiCaprio has 21 films in development.

Whether the film will focus on online poker, casinos, or sports betting remains to be seen and various websites pitch the movie in several different ways. Tokwiro-owned online poker rooms Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker are both based in San Jose, the Central American country’s capital city. A report by CBS News program “60 Minutes” identified the offices of the sites as being located in a “strip mall.” Both Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker comprise the CEREUS Network, which was formed in November.

Action Poker, the flagship site of the network of the same name, has offices in Costa Rica. Joining the site in the tropical nation is Doyle’s Room, which opened the 2009 calendar year by jumping to the USA-friendly Cake Poker Network. Ten-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner Doyle Brunson, whose “Texas Dolly” moniker has made him one of the industry’s foremost faces, is the site’s namesake. Also holding a presence in Costa Rica is PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site. According to, which ranks online poker site traffic, PokerStars has a seven day running average of 22,000 cash game players. It happily accepts customers from the United States.

“Rounders” starred Edward Norton and Matt Damon. The movie was released five years before Chris Moneymaker became a household after the Tennessee accountant defeated Sammy Farha in the 2003 WSOP Main Event. Since then, Koppelman and Levien have kept their love for poker alive, teaming up for ESPN’s short-lived series “Tilt,” which starred Michael Madsen as Don “The Matador” Everest. “Tilt” premiered in 2005, ran for one season, and featured appearances by poker superstars including Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, and T.J. Cloutier. Negreanu is fresh off a cameo in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”

Finally, Koppelman and Levien wrote “Oceans Thirteen,” which came out in 2007. It was the third installment of the franchise, which stars Damon, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Andy Garcia, and Julia Roberts. “Oceans Thirteen” returned to its roots in Las Vegas as the team sought revenge on casino owner Willy Blank (played by Al Pacino). The movie also stars Don Cheadle, who founded Ante Up for Africa along with Norman Epstein and “Celebrity Apprentice” runner-up Annie Duke.


1 comment:

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