Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck and Gemma Arterton star in the high-roller thriller “Runner Runner” as key players trying to get ahead in the multi-billion dollar industry of internet gambling.
Timberlake’s character Richie is a Princeton grad student who’s been swindled by an online gambling group led by Ivan Block (played by Affleck). Traveling to Costa Rica to confront the gambling legend behind the site, Richie is eventually seduced into Ivan’s haven – easy, instant and limitless wealth. Ivan, impressed by Richie’s technological savvy takes the younger man under his wing to teach him the ropes. It is only when he meets and falls for Ivan’s associate, Rebecca Shafran (Arterton) did he realize that he’s facing his greatest gamble yet when he also learns that Ivan is being chased by the FBI for racketeering, extortion and bribery.
“Technology has led us to a world where everything comes very quickly, which has expedited this concept of the American dream. Young people today want everything faster – especially money,” says director Brad Furman. Justin Timberlake concurs with Furman’s assessment of the American dream on steroids: “The American dream used to be about being rich and famous, but now it’s to become rich and famous – as quickly as possible. The more access we have to things, the faster we want them. Just touch a button and you can have almost anything shipped to you.”
“Today, people don’t want to own a Cadillac; they want to invent their own car,” Timberlake continues. “A generation of young people wants to start their own galaxy of entrepreneurial activities. People are constantly trying to reinvent the wheel, and things are moving at warp speed. It’s cutthroat. It’s very cerebral and less about integrity, pride or honor, or any moral values.”
Timberlake’s Richie Furst is among those getting caught up in this irresistible but dangerous mindset. His guide and “benefactor” is Ivan Block. Timberlake describes his character’s descent: “Richie is a good guy in the wrong place, trying to do the right thing. He’s constantly trying to hold on to his morals. Richie is a dreamer and an idealist who makes an honest mistake and must figure out how he’s going to get out of it.”
“Runner Runner.” It’s an expression unknown to all but perhaps the most ardent gamblers. For the uninitiated, here’s a quick explanation: In the game of poker Texas hold ‘em, each player is dealt two “hole cards,” which they keep to themselves. Then three cards are dealt face up – also known as The Flop. The fourth card dealt up is The Turn and the fifth card is The River. Sometimes a player will get the two cards he needs on The Turn and The River – a very lucky break that is also known as “runner runner.” For “Runner Runner’s” Richie to avoid jail, he’ll need an ingenious plan – and some very lucky breaks.
“Runner Runner” opens September 26 from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.
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