After the world premiere of
It was an enviable montage, underscoring the number of great movies Wahlberg has made ("Boogie Nights,"
"The Gambler," a remake of the 1974 James Toback-written drama about a free-falling college English professor given seven days to pay off a substantial gambling debt, lands on the showier side of Wahlberg's work. His character doesn't really want to make things square. He's full of self-loathing over his privileged upbringing, desperately wanting something real he can call his own. He gambles because he doesn't have it and believes he never will. He's unafraid of oblivion.
Directed by Rupert Wyatt (
Wahlberg, Wyatt and
Whether academy voters will respond to Wahlberg's serious turn is open to question, as his character isn't particularly sympathetic and the movie itself has its share of issues. But Wahlberg apparently does have the support of one academy member -- James Caan, who starred in the 1974 film.
"I showed him the movie last week," Wahlberg said. Then, gesturing toward his face: "No scars, no blood."
"The Gambler" will open Dec. 19 with a one-week Oscar-qualifying run before its Jan. 2 wide release.