Edward Norton Tells National Audience He Might Make a Sequel to Poker Classic “Rounders”

Edward Norton was on the “Late Show with David Letterman” in late-November to promote his new movie, “Birdman”. During his interview, the Hollywood star suggested he might make a sequel to the 1990s cult classic about poker, “Rounders”.

Norton discussed how the cast enjoyed each other’s company, then joked about the debt of gratitude poker players owe the movie, which had a small hand in the upsurge in interest in gambling. “Rounders” became a cult classic on video.

Edward Norton as “Worm”

Edward Norton told the David Letterman audience that he had to stop going to Las Vegas for a few years after he made the movie. His character’s name was “Worm”, which caused many Vegas gamblers to stop him on the street or in the casinos and accost him with a one-word greeting: “Worm!”

Five years after the film was released, Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event and the annual WSOP became a world sensation. WSOP fields swelled from a few hundred to upwards of 10,000 players–at least until the U.S. Congress passed the UIGEA. After the ambiguous federal ban on online poker, playing cards is less mainstream. Still, “Rounders” has become part of poker history. Fans call for a sequel often.

Discusses Rounders on Letterman

When David Letterman referenced the film and asked whether a sequel would be made, Norton said, “I think there is a possibility of it. Yeah, we couldn’t have had more fun making that movie. That was one of the best gangs of people ever. We did it right on the cusp of what became kind of the resurgence of the poker phenomenon. Matt and I talked later…we should have negotiated like a five-percent rake on every poker pot that was played after that. Then we could have made the [follow-up] film with our money!

Rounders: A Synopsis

Rounders is the story of a talented card player (Matt Damon) who atteneds law school. After losing $10,000 to Russian mobster “Teddy KGB” (John Malkovich), Damon promises his girlfriend he will give up cards and stay in school. He holds to the promise, until his friend Worm (Edward Norton) is released from prison. Worm owes a debt to Teddy KGB, which sets up a dramatic rematch between the two men.

The movie had footage of the 1988 World Series of Poker, in which Johnny Chan defeats Eric Seidel to win his second Main Event championship in a row. Johnny Chan later makes a cameo appearance. At the end of the movie, one of the characters goes to Las Vegas to play in the WSOP Main Event–which no doubt introduced many American movie watchers to the concept.

List of Good Poker Films

Despite the popularity of card playing, few poker movies have been made over the decades. Even fewer good poker movies have made it to the silver screen. The Cincinnati Kid and The Sting are rare examples of good films about card players. When Texas holdem got popular, a whole spate of movies were released: Lucky You, Freeze Out, The Grand, Deal, All In: The Poker Movie, and Players are just a few of those released between 2005 and 2012. Even the 2006 remake of Casino Royale featured Texas hold’em, instead of 007’s standard favorite (baccarat). Besides the James Bond movie, most mentioned were pedestrian films.

Possibility of Rounders 2

Some view Norton’s reference to the movie in a bad light. Since last year, “Rounders 2” has been listed on the Internet Movie DataBase (IMBb) as “in development”. Many movie projects with that designation fail to make it to theaters, so that’s no promise a film will ever be made. When Rounders 2 was listed, though, it caused buzz in online poker communities. To see one of the stars mention a year later that he’d liked to do a sequel, but make no reference to concrete plans, is seen by some in the community as a disappointment.

In many ways, one would think the film would have been made by now. The original “Rounders” was released in 1998, just a few years before the Poker Boom (2003-2006). As the World Series of Poker Main Event, the World Poker Tour, and Texas hold’em in general became a mainstream phenomenon in the early 21st century, the time to make a sequel would have been ten years ago. Edward Norton is 45 and Matt Damon (the other star of Rounders) is 44. With each passing year, the probability of such a film being made would seem to get smaller.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on BestOnlineCasinos.com, USPokerSites.com, and LegalUSPokerSites.com

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