The Russell Crowe poker movie Poker Face has undergone some key changes in its production. Crowe is now directing as well as starring. This is Crowe’s first directorial outing since 2014. It’ll be his second ever feature-length directing project.
Details on the project are slowly coming to light. Liam Hemsworth and RZA will be appearing in unspecified roles. Elsa Pataky of the Fast and Furious franchise will be playing the dealer.
IMDb carries a plot summary for the movie.
“Crowe plays Jake,” it says, “a tech billionaire who gathers his childhood friends to his Miami estate for what turns into a high stakes game of poker. Those friends have a love-hate relationship with the host, a master game-player/planner. He has concocted an elaborate scheme designed to bring a certain justice to all of them. However, Jake finds himself rethinking his strategy when his Miami mansion is overtaken by a dangerous home invader whose previous jobs have all ended in murder and arson.”
It’s a story that looks to have poker at the center of its first act, before things start ramping up.
The land down under
Not only had Crowe taken over as director, but production has also moved fully to Sydney.
It is not clear yet if Sydney will be playing itself, or pretending to be Miami. However, comments from Crowe regarding the use of city landmarks suggest that the location of the move may have changed from the original script. Variety is already reporting on shoots taking place for a car chase in the downtown area.
Australia is enjoying a growth year in its film industry. The government is offering incentives to film companies to shoot there. Plus, the proximity of New Zealand’s special effects wizards from the Weta Workshop make Sydney and the East coast of Australia an attractive choice.
New Zealander Taika Waititi has shifted the production of Thor: Love and Thunder to Oz. Natalie Portman, who stars in the Marvel flick, is also taking part in an Elena Ferrante adaptation that is shooting down under.
Meanwhile, Australian national Nicole Kidman has been hard at work on an episode of Apple TV’s Roar with the mentalist from The Mentalist, Simon Baker.
All at once
Poker movies are like buses. We got High Roller and Shade in 2003. Then we got Lucky You and Deal in 2007, Runner, Runner (2013) and Mississippi Grind (2015). Then Molly’s Game and Seven Days to Vegas both hit cinemas in 2019.
We’ll get Crowe’s poker movie in 2021. Though the poker elements are likely tangled up with wider-ranging thriller elements. After all, this is a movie that includes at least one car chase. But it has a poker game at its heart.
We will also be getting Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter this year. The Card Counter is a movie about a blackjack player and poker shark who takes a run at the WSOP while trying to deal with the fallout from his dark military past.
Joe Stapleton consulted on the poker scenes in The Card Counter. So even if this turns out to be one of Schrader’s off-years, the poker moments should be pretty good.
Being able to catch both flicks in the cinema should be an excellent reason for poker players to get their COVID shots.
Featured image source: Flickr by El Hormiguero