Poker, Las Vegas, Bob Dylan and Jennifer Harman – Lucky Us?
Coming to a cinema near you, all the above and much more! It's true, a realistic movie about poker in Las Vegas, starring the actor who played The Hulk with side turns by the likes of Jennifer Harman and Daniel Negreanu and music by Dylan and Springsteen.
The UK will not be the first country to see a new Hollywood movie called "Lucky You" and we will have to wait until 22nd June for the official release here. Those Stateside get to see it much sooner, in early May, as does Australia, The Philippines, France and Portugal. Lucky them!
From the comment and pictures we have seen so far, it seems that "Lucky You" is a professionally made film properly depicting poker in Vegas circa 2003 around the time of the WSOP but not featuring Chris Moneymaker. The plot surrounds mainly fictional characters in a realistic setting, but also including some real life pro's such as the aforementioned Harman and Negreanu. Harman's role is as a genuine actress playing a different character and should be fascinating to see.
The movie was shot partially in a set made from actual elements of the old Bellagio card room before it was refurbished a few years ago including the murals and chairs and everything else. For those familiar with the old room, it was a surreal experience indeed to walk on set into that arena. It was a carbon copy, a trip back in time.
It was not only the Bellagio but also Benny's Bullpen at Binion's Horseshoe that had similarly been recreated in a Hollywood studio for perfect effect. This is of course pre-Harrah's WSOP.
"Lucky You" was directed by Curtis Hanson who has LA Confidential and 8-Mile to his name. The screenplay was written by Hanson and Eric Roth (of Forrest Gump fame) so there is clearly some quality behind the writing.
The plot concerns, briefly, the development of the relationship between the lead characters played by Eric Bana (who played The Hulk) and Drew Barrymore. Bana's character is a skilful high stakes poker professional with emotional problems and an empty social life while Barrymore is a singer hoping to make things happen in Vegas.
Unlike in the overhyped movie Rounders, "Lucky You" is focussed more upon the real world in and around the poker tables, and the lives of its people rather than the drama of a single hand of poker with an odd Russian with an accent from Jupiter. An added ingredient in this movie is that it is set in the moment in poker time when everything was about to change. The professionals' cosy world of knowing each other and all they played was about to be opened up to the masses from the internet, and corporate America was soon to consign Binion's relatively pokey but intimate surroundings to the bin and replace it with a Walmart shed.
This movie intertwines a fictional and deep human story with a living, breathing world of poker where real poker stars mingle with the film stars. The list of walk-ons includes Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Ted Forrest, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson and many others.
Add to this a soundtrack to suit many tastes, including Bob Dylan with a new song specially written for this movie, called "Huck's Tune", as well as old favourite "Like a rolling stone". Other artists include Bruce Springsteen, Liza Minelli, Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt and George Jones.
I certainly look forward to seeing this movie when it is released.
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