A-List Gamblers

Everyone loves a bet. The thrill and anticipation of seeing your bet come in is a sort of drug-like feeling, to a degree there is a sense of euphoria involved. Human nature actively seeks out thrills, we all love a bit adrenaline and that is one of the reasons people look to gambling. Celebrities are no different albeit they do have a bit more change to throw around.

Below is A-List of gamblers.

Ben Affleck
While he may be at odds with Batman fans all over the world, Affleck is a hustler on the table. His game is poker. His biggest win to date is the California State Poker Championship, which netted him a $350,000. But it was Affleck’s antics on the blackjack tables that got him in the newspapers recently. It has been reported that Affleck was counting cards at the Hard Rock Casino, Las Vegas, and is now banned indefinitely. Considering he is worth $75 million it is not as if he is short of money so he must love the thrill.

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Matt Damon and Friends Get Away with Poker Winnings

Matt Damon, star of the Bourne series is among the big names to be spared a court battle which would have revealed details of massive illegal poker winnings.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Damon’s Good Will Hunting co-star Ben Affleck have also escaped the courts after being involved in games with jailed hedge fund manager Bradley Ruderman.

Ruderman conned multiple people out of millions of dollars before surrendering to the FBI in 2009. Two years later news broke that after reportedly losing $25million of his investors’ money, Ruderman was suing the celebrities who beat him.

It seemed inevitable that details of the high-stakes poker games; illegal in Hollywood; would come to light in the courts, but yesterday it seemed that the quartet of celebrities have gotten away with the cash.

The bankruptcy trustee who sued Damon, Howard Ehrenberg, told celebuzz.com that “all of the poker defendant cases are settled.

“The settlement of every poker related case without having had to incur the cost of taking any of them to trial means that the fund available for the victims has been maximized.”

Ruderman had been living a celebrity lifestyle himself, spending the victims’ cash in Malibu, California, before being jailed.
Poker is still illegal in California, though some States allow the game, and others are looking to get in on the act. There is a lot of revenue available in online gambling, Texas Hold Em and Fast Poker games on the net, and North Dakota is among the States already reaping rewards.

Tobey Macguire was the among the first to settle, agreeing to hand over $80,000 of the $311,200 that he took from Ruderman in the series of underground poker games. It is currently not known how much Damon settled for, but he is believed to have taken significantly more money from the ex-hedge fund manager.

  

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Midweek movie bits

I’m going to be taking a day off from the blogging grind, but there’s plenty going on this late evening in the world’s cinema capital. Starting with…

* Team Coco, the movie! Okay, it’s a documentary about Conan O’Brien’s upcoming live tour and it’s still only in the “early talks” stage according to Mike Fleming’s exclusive. It’s apparently in compliance with his severance deal, even though most people will probably end up watching it on television sets anyhow.

* Speaking of documentaries and comedy, A.J. Schnack rounds up some of the SXSW reaction to James Franco’s SNL documentary.

* At the risk certainty of being repetitious, speaking of comedies connected to SNL, Pete Sciretta rounds up the SXSW reaction to”MacGruber.” We also have reaction direct from Jason Zingale at the big Austin fest just a few posts below.

* In the wake of the sale of Miramax, go-to producer Scott Rudin is negotiating to leave Disney, writes Claudia Eller.

* Okay, even if I might not be a fan of all the movies, I confess to enjoying the idea of having the stars of past Marvel films recreate their roles in the long-discussed “Avengers” film and Edward Norton appears possibly willing to play along by returning as the Hulk, maybe. Whatever else may be true, Norton is a very interesting guy.

* Does a serious version of the Black Knight sequence from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” sound like your kind of film? If so, Anne Thompson thinks you might like “Centurion.”

* I think all the entertainment reporters should just take the month off and let Mike Fleming do all the reporting of stories like the one that Jeremy Renner may be joining Paul Thomas Anderson’s not-about-Scientology movie which will star Philip Seymour Hoffman as not-L. Ron Hubbard. Though it’s relatively modest $35 million budget may be a bit high for the finance folks at Universal, other backers may have been found.

That’s hardly all. Fleming also brings us the one about “Hit Girl” Chloe Moretz joining the cast of Scorsese’s lastest and that Tobey Maguire confirmed to be playing Bobby Fisher.

And one two more from Mr. Fleming…If you think Spike Lee has been working as much as he should after the success of “Inside Man” and his acclaimed Katrina documentary, you’re apparently not alone. He’s switched agencies.

And, oh yeah, another beefcake “Captain America” potential. At least the names for the female lead have a bit of spark to them, I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing Keira Knightley or Emily Blunt hanging around a Marvel movie.

* Jeffrey Welles is nutso for “Hot Tub Time Machine,” for what it’s worth.

* I often say that the best movies these days are long-form television. So why shouldn’t Martin Scorsese be getting involved? However, does everything crime and Scorsese oriented have to have Rolling Stones music in the background? Unless I’m misidentifying that anachronistic music in the “Boardwalk Empire,” trailer, I guess it really does. Still, yeah, it is Steve Buscemi’s time to play a big bad boss.

* If it’s not news that Jason Segal will be costarring with muppets, why are we talking about  it? Still, based on his obvious love for puppetry as portrayed in the rather brilliant “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” I think it may turn out okay.

  

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Tuesday late night movie news

It’s pretty clear that nothing going on in movieland tonight is going to be able to compete with the sheer entertainment value of the NBC late night TV quagmire, but there’s definitely stuff to talk about.

* Peter Saarsgard of the very good “An Education” is a highly intriguing actor who I’ve been following for some time, especially since catching his work in the underrated “The Dying Gaul” at Sundance a few years back. No matter what kind of character he’s playing, he seems to have a real gift for moral ambiguity. If he’s cast as a villain, we think he must have a good side, and if he’s cast as someone more upright, we wonder if there isn’t something underhanded going on. Anyhow, Borys Kit reports that it looks like he might be playing the villain side of the street in the Green Lantern movie. Could be good.

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* The longest named director in show business is back on “The Tourist,” a remake of a French thriller to star Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck is the very talented and personable multilingual director behind “The Lives of Others.”

* Simon Brew has some more on the upcoming “Spiderman” reboot announced yesterday. His list of possible new Spideys has two interesting entries that I can’t quite agree with. Daniel Radcliffe actually makes some sense, but we’ll have to see how his American accent is, though I’d personally advise the soon-to-be ex-Harry Potter to avoid overly franchisey roles for a while. Michael Cera would be interesting but, I fear, disastrous. He’d have to get muscular and we know what happens to funny young actors when they become too obviously physically fit. Just ask Anthony Michael Hall.

The trick with Peter Parker is that the actor has to be believable both as a vulnerable demi-nerd, and as the sinewy superhero. Tobey Maguire was actually a really outstanding choice.

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Raimi & Spidey part company; Hanks to direct again with Roberts in tow; history repeats on “Thor”; an auteur departs; ASC, WGA, and ACE noms; Nikki Finke makes a friend

Spiderman

My highly esteemed colleague Will Harris has been right on top of  the huge small screen stories that seem to be breaking right and left at the TCA conference this week. Still, it’s not like there hasn’t been any news in movieland. It’s almost hard to know where to start.

* The Hollywood Reporter as well as Nikki Finke and new stablemate Mike Fleming (more on that below) are carrying the news that, in the wake of ongoing script problems, the kibosh has been put on Sam Raimi’s “Spiderman IV” with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst and a 2012 reboot, written by James Vanderbilt (“Zodiac“) announced. The new film will feature a once-again teenage Peter Parker, so Taylor Lautner is no doubt already in touch with his agent.

THR says the script problems had something to do with a disagreement over supervillains between Raimi and Sony and/or Marvel Studios. Finke also notes that the fourth installment would probably not have been in 3-D and it seems reasonable that that might have been a factor, given the current mania for the process.

* In another apparent scoop for new Deadline team member Mike Fleming, Tom Hanks is returning as a writer-director for the second time since making his 1996 charmer, “That Thing You Do!” A comedy, “Larry Crowne” will reteam him with his “Charlie Wilson’s War” co-star, Julia Roberts. Like “Up in the Air,” according to Fleming it’s somewhat topical in that’s it’s about a middle-aged guy forced to reinvent his career at a time when past generations where just starting to settle down.

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While he’s at it, Fleming also has the word on Shia LaBeouf not going agentless after all and signing with CAA. Agents around the world can all breathe easier now.

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