Is 'The Gambler' Based On a True Story? The Original Screenplay is "Autobiographical"

If Mark Wahlberg and John Goodman movie  The Gambler seems familiar, your instincts are correct, you cinephile, you! The Rupert Wyatt-directed drama is a remake of the 1974 film of the same name. The original was directed by Karel Reisz (The French Lieutenant's Woman), stars James Caan, and was penned by screenwriter James Toback. In an essay he'd written for Deadline in 2011, Toback says the original Gambler screenplay is "blatantly autobiographical" and based on his real-life experiences.

In the same essay, the screenwriter shares how The Gambler (1974) screenplay came to be:

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The 2014 remake, which was penned by The Departed screenwriter William Monahan, follows a gambling addict named Jim Bennett (Wahlberg). Jim teaches college courses by day and toils away at the blackjack tables by night. He finds himself crushed beneath an avalanche of debt. The partition separating his two lives weakens. He attempts to "fix" his financial situation, but his actions only compound the problem. Stuff gets messy, y'all.

The Gambler (1974) is currently streaming on Netflix and The Gambler (2014) will roll into theaters Dec. 19.