Typically, the Hollywood hype cycle goes a little something like this: We hear about a movie through a rumour or proper announcement, and that news is followed by casting rumours, photos from the set, teasers and trailers, etc… until, you know, the movie actually arrives. But every so often, things don’t go as planned and the movie announcement precedes little to no information at all. This much is true regarding the much-anticipated sequel to 1998’s “Rounders,” a film based on poker that gained a cult following amid the surging buzz surrounding the game at the time.
Everything seemed to be in place for the hype machine to rev its engines nearly one year ago. Huge news broke back in December 2013 that Miramax and The Weinstein Company were buddies/partners once again. And according to Deadline, this meant big things for two films worthy of sequels: “Rounders” and Academy Award-winning “Shakespeare In Love.” Harvey Weinstein, of the Weinstein Company, said he was eager to do a sequel to “Shakespeare” while making it clear that “Rounders 2″ already had its feet on the ground in terms of a story, setting and cast.
As Deadline indicates, Weinstein said that he “discussed making Rounders 2 with Matt Damon” while adding that it’s “going to be instantaneous.” He went on to say that the main writers, David Levien and Brian Koppelman, had the idea to make it an international affair by bringing the story to Paris. That’s where the protagonists—Matt Damon and Edward Norton—would likely run into an unnamed “certain beautiful Parisian actress” before heading to Las Vegas and, apparently, going against a new villain. While John Malkovich was beyond-memorable as Teddy KGB, Weinstein wants a different legend, Robert De Niro, to play the villain in the sequel.
But here’s thing: This is all that’s been revealed about the film! Nearly one year later and we have nothing but the aforementioned news to go on. So how about some speculation then? Here goes—spoilers ahead for those who haven’t seen the original.
Clearly, Damon’s character, Mike McDermott, or perhaps even Norton’s, Lester “Worm” Murphy, need a reason to be overseas. Chances are likely that it has to do with a big-time poker game, especially considering how many tournaments are being held there through the World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker. This makes sense beyond the fact that, of course, “Rounders” is all about the game of poker. At the end of the first film, we watched as McDermott headed into a WSOP tournament in Vegas.
With that in mind, then, why wouldn’t his good luck continue with a trip to another tourney in Paris? Of course, he could have potentially retired there, only to need to bail Worm out of more trouble while in France. And if that is the case, he’d need to find a way to get back into the world of poker.
Well, things have definitely changed in the 16 years since the first film’s release. Most notably, online poker (thanks to the rise of Texas Hold’em tournaments) exploded in popularity and sites began partnering with the WPT and WSOP. Gaming platform Betfair routinely works with the WSOP to set up satellite tournaments where armchair poker players/would-be pros can challenge on another with the goal of playing in a tournament in a physical tournament. In other words, the timing seems perfect for an online poker twist to the “Rounders” narrative. Even if online poker doesn’t play a huge role in “Rounders 2″—and it really should!—it will probably be better portrayed than what was seen in last year’s release, “Runner Runner.”
Are you looking forward to the second “Rounders” film, too? No? Well, check out the trailer for the original below and maybe that’ll change your mind.