Sunday, April 14, 2024

Focus Features Buys Oscar Winner Paul Schrader’s “The Card Counter” Starring Oscar Isaac, After Film is Finished Post-COVID Break


Focus Features has bought Oscar winner Paul Schrader’s “The Card Counter.” The film stars Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish, Tye Sheridan, and Willem Dafoe. Martin Scorsese, Paul’s long time friend and collaborator, is executive producer.

“The Card Counter” is a bit of a miracle story. Schrader was down in Mississippi shooting in a casino when the pandemic started. He was just days away from finishing and everything had to stop. What followed was a terrible period of uncertainty for him since no one knew when lockdowns would be lifted. When I spoke to Paul a couple of months ago, he was feeling very bleak.

But last week Schrader reported on Facebook that he’d returned to Mississippi was finally wrapping up. Now Focus has bought the movie. It’s a happy ending!

Paul says in the press release: “The folks at Focus are the best at what they do. Over the years I’ve been jealous of directors in the Focus fold. Now happily I am one.”

“At a time when many of us are left wondering whether it’s our circumstances that corrupt souls or if it’s corrupt souls that create the circumstances, no one can say for sure, but has anyone explored this more in film than Paul Schrader?” commented Focus chairman Peter Kujawski.  “All of us at Focus can’t wait to hear and see what Paul has to say now more than ever before, and we’re very proud to help him bring this story to the world.”

Paul Schrader has a big fan club among cineastes and critics. He’s the real deal, not just from the Scorsese movies but go watch “First Reformed.” It’s just mind blowing. I can’t wait to see “The Card Counter.” Bravo!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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