Today, Friday, October 4, 2013, a new poker movie hits theaters. It’s called “Runner Runner” and it stars Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake as opposite sides of a dispute about one man’s (Justin Timberlakes) loss of a great sum of money to an online poker site.
Calling it a thriller that set against a backdrop of online poker (actually it’s set in Costa Rica, although more of the film was shot in Puerto Rico) the movie is the most recent from the team of writers/producers Brian Koppleman and David Levien. The movie follows a ruthless offshore online poker site operator played by Affleck, lending to rumors that the film will shed a bad light on online poker and hurt the industry’s efforts to legalize in more states and then the whole U.S.. The producers’ answer to that is to look at the 1998 film “Rounders” (which was written, incidentally by the same dynamic duo) that rallied that same complaints, yet only served to bolster the game of real money high stakes poker, if anything. The writers/producers also swear that they were already working on the film before the 2011 Black Friday debacle hitting sites like Absolute Poker and Ultimate Poker took place, with those events merely serving as validation that they indeed had themselves an urgent and relevant story worth telling.
The trailer has just been released for the latest poker movie to hit the big screen, and this time it’s an online poker movie. The movie, “Runner Runner” stars Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake and is slated for a September 27, 2013 release in theaters everywhere.
“Runner Runner” is about Richie Furst (Timberlake) a Princeton college student who goes off on a quest to a remote island to confront Ivan Block, the owner of the poker website (Affleck) who he believes cheated him out of his tuition money in an online poker scam. Ivan turns out to take Furst under his wing, becoming protege and go-to guy, until the FBI ropes him into participating in a scheme to bring Block down.
One of the movie’s stars, Affleck, is also known off-screen as an avid high-stakes poker player. And in fact, in an interesting twist on life imitating art (or the other way around) this movie trailer evokes vivid recollections of Affleck’s admitted involvement in the recent Ultimate Bet Poker scandal in which the owners admitted to using special software to peek at players’ hole cards and thus defraud them from millions of dollars. Affleck was one of the thusly defrauded, in his case out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
While Affleck’s friend and writing partner, fellow Hollywood star, Matt Damon was in a gambling movie once before (the 1998 cult hit “Rounders”) this will be Affleck’s first appearance in a gambling related film.
“Runner, Runner” was written by Brian Koppelman and David Levien, who also wrote “Rounders”. And the film was directed by Brad Furman, who also directed”The Lincoln Lawyer”.