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‘The Gambler,’ Starring Mark Wahlberg, Lands Surprise AFI FEST Premiere

'The Gambler,' Starring Mark Wahlberg, Lands Surprise AFI FEST Premiere

“The Gambler,” Brit director Rupert Wyatt’s follow-up to smart blockbuster “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” will come out of the woodwork for an AFI FEST gala premiere at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, home of the Oscars, on November 10.

Written by William Monahan (“The Departed”), this remake of Karel Reisz’ 1974 thriller follows Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg, stepping into James Caan’s shoes), an English professor and high-stakes gambler who borrows from a gangster (Michael Kenneth Williams) and hands over his own life as collateral. As he enters an illicit underground world (what else is new?), Bennett juggles his wealthy mother (Jessica Lange), a loan shark (John Goodman) and a relationship with a student (Brie Larson). The film is produced by Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Irwin Winkler, Robert Chartoff and David Winkler.

With a limited window to promote the film as he shoots “Ted 2,” Wahlberg is happy to return to AFI FEST (November 6 through 13), which debuted both “Lone Survivor” and “The Fighter.” Paramount will have an opportunity to gauge audience reaction and see how far to push the movie during awards season. Also showing at AFI are previously announced opening night film “A Most Violent Year” and closer “Foxcatcher” — two other prestige dramas gunning for Academy honors. (Having seen “Foxcatcher,” we know it’s a sure bet.)

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