Rounders 2 a reality?

Matt Damon
Matt Damon's Mike McDermott may hit the felt again.

Both the stars and writers of poker's most enduring film say a sequel is a realistic possibility.

"Everybody would probably come back," Rounders star Matt Damon told PokerListings. "The actors all had a really good time working together. I know Edward would want to do it; we had a blast working together. [Director] John Dahl I'm sure would like to do it. Maybe someday it will happen.

"The only reason to do a movie like that would be if we had a great idea. If the two writers suddenly said eureka! We have a great idea. Then everyone involved would be interested in exploring it."

According to one half of the David Levien and Brian Koppleman writing team, who penned both Rounders and the casino caper flick Oceans 13, that "eureka" moment may not be far off.

"We've been concentrating on Rounders 2 lately; Ideas are percolating," Levien told PokerListings. "It's great to know that all of the original players want to come back and do another one."

Dicaprio Tied to New Online Casino Project

The Hollywood rumor mill recently had Leonardo DiCaprio set to star in a Rounders sequel using a Levien and Koppleman script based on online casinos.

Johnny Chan
John F. Chan, Rounders hero.

Levien confirmed that project is in the works, but its association to Rounders is circumstantial at best.

"We did just set up a project centering on the world of offshore online casinos with Leonardo attached," Levien said. "It's a little ways down the road, but we've started researching."

"It's a great world. Some of the countries where online casinos are based are like the new version of the Wild West, and with so much money on the line there is lots of drama attached."

The two writers just seem drawn to the world of poker and gambling.

"Vegas, the poker world, the casino environment, and the characters that gravitate around them are endlessly fascinating to us," Levien said.

"We've always been interested in poker players who develop these skills and literally live by them; putting their money on the table and living or dying by how good they are."

Rounders is hands down the most popular and influential poker movie ever made.

It's been quoted, impersonated and dissected at more poker tables and online forums than any other film. Those discussions often center on how the movie was written and why these two writers picked poker as the setting for their first feature film.

"I Just Lost All My Money at an Underground Poker Club. It Was Awesome."

Levien says it was the game itself that that drew them in.

"Brian and I had been working on the rough beginnings of a screenplay idea about two friends, and deciding what to do with one's life, and we weren't sure exactly what world we were going to set it in," he explained.

"Then Brian called me at about three in the morning and said 'I just lost all my money at an underground poker club. It was awesome. We've got to set the movie here.'

Erik Seidel
Mayfair Club regular.

"The next night we went, and kept going back, playing at clubs all over the city every night for a year.  We read all the available important poker books too, and began writing the script during the mornings."

One of the underground poker clubs in question was New York's famed Mayfair Club, home court to Dan Harrington, Howard Lederer, Erik Seidel and a host of colorful characters.

Speculation regarding the various characters in the movie and who they were based on has run rampant since the film's 1998 release.

It has even been claimed the movie was based on actor/comedian Norm MacDonald and although he occasionally played at Mayfair, Levien says Rounders really had nothing to do with him.

However, he did confirm rumors that the "Teddy KGB" character was based on a player known as "Eddie KGB," and that "Joey Knish" was actually based on a rounder named "Joel Bagels," but he squashed all speculation regarding Damon's character "Mike McDermott."

"Brian had just gone to law school at night, but didn't want to practice law, so we got the idea: What if something that seemed conventionally wrong, like poker playing, was really the main character's destiny, and something usually considered proper, like being a lawyer, wasn't the right choice," he said.

For Rounders biggest fans, the most frequently argued question has always regarded what Teddy KGB was holding in the film's final hand.

Unfortunately, Levien and Koppleman still refuse to end that debate.

"That's probably the most asked question in regard to the movie, but it's something we never answer," Levien said.

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