Bruce Willis to 'Lay the Favorite, Take the Dog' with Stephen Frears
by Ethan Anderton
February 11, 2011
Back in November of 2009, we learned that director Stephen Frears and writer D.V. DeVincentis (the team that brought us High Fidelity) were behind yet another adaptation. The talented duo would be bringing an adaptation of Beth Raymer's upcoming gambling memoir to the big screen with Lay the Favorite, Take the Dog. While we were at Sundance last month, we missed reporting that Rebecca Hall (The Town) had joined the project and now Vulture reports Bruce Willis will co-star with the lovely British actress in the story of a woman who teams up with math geeks to clean house in Vegas by working the sportsbook system.
When the project was announced, Rayner's memoir had yet to be published, but the book is available for your reading pleasure and here's the official synopsis:
Hailing from Ohio, Beth Raymer eventually made her way to Las Vegas when she was 24 and found a lucrative position assisting a Queens-born, Stuyvesant High School-educated gambling operator, Dink Heimowitz. The lovable, irascible, big-bellied Dinky had shucked life as a bookmaker back in New York, having run into trouble, for professional sports gambling; he put Raymer and the other motley staff on the phones setting up bets for all kinds of sports matchups (baseball, football, horse racing, hockey) in order to find a line that gave him an edge. Dinky referred Raymer to a high-flying bookie on Long Island, Bernard Rose, who had his own offshore network. As girl Friday, Raymer fetched doughnuts, placed calls, and acted as a runner, making wads of dough, but mostly Raymer cherished working among the assortment of gambling types, the low-end hustlers and misfits she chronicles with evident tenderness.
The memoir will be probably very dramatized in much the same way 21 (which was also based on some real kids from MIT trying to clean out some casinos by way of blackjack) was crafted as more of a thriller. Hall is obviously taking the lead here, but Willis will play Dink Heimowitz. In addition to this role, Willis is also busy meeting with directors for Die Hard 5. Nothing is official yet (apparently Fox is still waiting on a new draft of the script after being disappointed with A-Team writer Skip Woods' take on the story), but right now Safe House director Daniel Espinosa is the top choice. We'll keep you posted as both of these project develop. Thoughts?