Tagline: Never bet against a man with a killer hand.
Nick Wild (Jason Statham) is a Las Vegas bodyguard with lethal professional skills and a personal gambling problem. When a friend is beaten by a sadistic thug, Nick strikes back, only to find out the thug is the son of a powerful mob boss. Suddenly Nick is plunged into the criminal underworld, chased by enforcers and wanted by the mob. Having raised the stakes, Nick has one last play to change his fortunes…and this time, it’s all or nothing. From two-time Academy® Award-winning writer William Goldman (Best Original Screenplay, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969; Best Adapted Screenplay, All the President’s Men, 1976).
About the Story
Las Vegas, the days before Christmas, a beaten, battered and bloody girl – whom we’ll soon know as Holly (Dominik Garcia-Lorido) – is tossed to the curb and left for dead. She determinedly makes it to the Emergency Room, where all she can mutter is “Nick…”
When we first see Nick (Jason Statham) at a bar, he seems like an intimidating drunk hitting on the unsuspecting DD (Sofia Vergara). DD’s nerdy boyfriend Osgood (Max Casella) came to the bar hoping to convince DD to move with him to Atlantic City. The unassuming Osgood likes to say he knows how to fight… and then, shockingly, proves it by giving Nick a beating in the parking lot. Indeed, DD is impressed by Osgood’s heroism, and says yes to him. This is just the way Osgood planned it, showing up the next day to thankfully pay Nick a fee of $500, with whom he set up the ruse to fool DD into moving with him.
The morning after the Osgood “fight” Nick heads into his office where he works for / with Pinky (Jason Alexander). Nick daydreams of far off exotic places — he’s been trying to save up half a million dollars to retire. While at the office he gets a job for that evening to “chaperone” a Boston yuppie, self-made millionaire named Kinnick (Michael Angarano).
That morning Nick retreats to his usual breakfast location where waitress Roxy (Anne Heche) gives him a message that his friend, battered Holly, needs to see him. She was cornered, tortured and raped by Danny Demarco (Milo Ventimiglia) and his men. Holly wants Nick to find them and soften them up so she can go in and get her own form of revenge.
Nick finally gives in and goes to DeMarco’s suite, gaining entry by saying he is a friend of Baby’s (the mobbed up owner of the Golden Nugget and other Vegas hotels). DeMarco’s men toy with him and this pushes Nick over the edge and we get to see him in action. When it’s over, the two battered bodyguards are tied together on the floor, and DeMarco is tied to a chair as Holly comes in. She removes a pair of gardening shears from her purse, and proceeds to pull DeMarco’s pants down and threatens to cut off his “envy of all mankind.”
He squeals, especially when she makes a small cut on his “envy of all mankind” to test the sharpness of her shears. Holly puts the shears back in her purse and takes his money, splitting half of it with Nick. Holly’s bags are already packed and she’s heading out of town. Nick tells her he will soon be following suit, but first he wants to take his $25,000 and win enough money so he will never have to come back to Vegas.
Heading back to the casino, Nick starts playing blackjack with his dealer friend Cassandra (Hope Davis), and wins $500,000! But, at the bar chatting with Kinnick, Nick comes to the conclusion that maybe all this money isn’t enough. Against Kinnick’s protests, Nick goes back to the blackjack table and goes all in on the first hand! With a 17 showing he hits and just like that he loses it all.
The loss sends Nick directly to the bar. Kinnick confesses he had ulterior motives for hiring Nick. Kinnick is scared to go through life being a coward and wants Nick to teach him how to be brave. In exchange for his help, Kinnick offers to help Nick with his compulsive gambling. Nick, in denial of his addiction, storms out on Kinnick. While stopped at the casino bar, Nick is attacked by a group of DeMarco’s thugs. Again Nick shows his amazing skills in taking a number of them out before Baby’s security guards break up the fight. Nick is escorted to a waiting BABY (Stanley Tucci) who is trying to find out the truth after DeMarco has persuaded him that Nick is responsible for killing DeMarco’s men in their earlier altercation.
Nick convinces Baby that it wasn’t him because he never uses a gun and he knows that DeMarco has a cut on his “envy of all mankind” put there by a lady with garden shears. DeMarco, too embarrassed to drop his pants, begins arguing that it is a matter of principle and he won’t take his pants down. Baby immediately starts laughing and lets Nick go. DeMarco leaves in a huff, but not before threatening Nick that he will come after him.
Nick heads to his usual coffee shop where Kinnick is waiting for Nick with a token of his appreciation. Kinnick has gifted Nick a plane ticket and money towards starting a new life away from Vegas. Although humbled by the gesture, Nick informs Kinnick he will not be able to accept the gift, for he is about to be murdered. We now see four DeMarco henchmen sitting in the diner as DeMarco enters through the front door. Kinnick, aware of the impending danger, does something very brave, standing up on a table and belting out a song. He causes a long enough distraction that Nick is able to slide out the kitchen door. Nick takes on DeMarco and his thugs leaving them bloody and dead on the ground. Before heading to his apartment to pack up what little he has, Nick thanks Kinnick for the gift and for being a “true friend.” The last we see of Nick he is driving out of Vegas, finally leaving for good!
About the Production
WILD CARD began eight years ago when producer Steve Chasman was sent a script written by William Goldman that he immediately took interest in. “It was so well written that all the characters were intertwined with each other. There’s not one piece of dialogue from the original material that doesn’t have a specific purpose. And that doesn’t really happen these days when you see movies,” stated Chasman. Based on his 1985 novel ‘Heat’ about a soldier of fortune in Las Vegas, Goldman wanted to bring a fresh perspective to the story while still staying true to his work. To accomplish this, Chasman teamed up with renowned actor Jason Statham to both star in and produce the reboot.
Drawn into the script’s rich dialogue and developed characters, Statham and Chasman dove into the legendary writer’s work. After attempting to tweak and contemporize the project they soon realized that the tone and style that Goldman wrote over forty years ago is what made it so special. “When we got the script I think everyone likes to try and modernize the script in some way. It’s sometimes to the detriment of what is really great already,” said Statham. “They lose the real sort of charm of what was already on the page. It just became like a full circle… in the end we just looked at it and went ‘hang on this is exactly what Goldman wrote in the first place.’”
Chasman and Statham immediately set out to find a director who would be able to bring the action packed thriller to a modern audience while keeping true to their creative vision, finally setting their sights on British director Simon West. Having a proven track record of success in addition to previously working with Jason, West was the perfect fit, being both captivated by Goldman’s original story and excited about the opportunity to add his own elements to the film.
Having the core team assembled, including iconic action director Cory Yuen, the next task was finding actors that would be able to fill the complex and developed roles that Goldman had written. West was confident that they would not only meet, but surpass expectations, “I knew I was going to be able to get great actors in all these different roles. Even if they’ve only got one scene or two scenes everybody has a great moment in the movie so I knew it was going to be a great collection of actors and it would attract great talent.” Once casting was completed, WILD CARD had assembled a roster of all-star talent including Michael Angarano, Milo Ventimiglia, Dominic Garcia-Lorido, Anne Heche, Sofía Vergara, Max Casella, Jason Alexander, Hope Davis and Stanley Tucci.
Built around Statham’s character ‘Nick Wild,’ the film explored and developed the intertwining relationships between the various characters. “The start is with Jason and everyone else is built around the character, Nick. In fact, that’s what the movie is. All the characters are basically there reflecting Nick. We are taken through his journey and everyone around him really goes through that journey with him,” stated Chasman.
Directed by: Simon West
Starring: Jason Statham, Sofía Vergara, Michael Angarano, Dominik García-Lorido, Anne Heche, Elena Sanchez, Jason Alexander
Screenplay by: William Goldman
Production Design by: Greg Berry
Cinematography by: Shelly Johnson
Film Editing by: Padraic McKinley, Thomas J. Nordberg
Costume Design by: Lizz Wolf
Music by: Dario Marianelli
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, language and some sexuality / nudity.
Studio: Lionsgate Films
Release Date: January 30, 2015