Rupert Wyatt has been rapidly ascending as a director in his relatively short career: his first feature, 2008’s The Escapist, was well-received and earned him a British Independent Film Awards nomination (and star Brian Cox a BAFTA). He followed that up by coming to the U.S. and directing his first blockbuster, the surprisingly great Rise of the Planet of the Apes–and then, for his third project, he took over the remake of James Toback’s semi-autobiographical crime picture, The Gambler, from Martin Scorsese.
Wyatt’s The Gambler has a trailer now, and it bears more than a passing resemblance to the sort of high-octane crime drama that Scorsese built his reputation on. With Mark Wahlberg in the lead role as a professor/gambling addict, the film appears built around supporting performances from a stellar cast: Jessica Lange, as Wahlberg’s mother, John Goodman and Michael K. Williams, as the people to whom he owes money, and Brie Larson, as his love interest. (Larson is a mere 18 years younger than Wahlberg, making this a relatively healthy Hollywood romance.) In all–and given the film’s December 19th limited release date (with a wide release in early January)–it appears that Wyatt is poised to continue his career arc in dramatic fashion: From well-received indie to Hollywood blockbuster to Oscar bait. And based on the trailer, we’re all-in.