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Saturday, November 10th, 2007

Cage to Play Poker Perv

BY TOM SOMACH

Oscar-winner Nicolas Cage is slated to star in a new movie about the life of poker champ-turned-pervert “Amarillo Slim.”

The biopic–or biographical picture–about Thomas “Amarillo Slim” Preston Jr. is in development and some of it will be shot in Texas, the project’s producer said.

“Slim has led a picturesque life and is a true American original, and the breadth of his experiences requires a fair amount of research,” producer Braxton Pope said of Preston.

“Slim will have a lot of input but he also understands that filmmakers are in the business of crafting stories and that this isn’t a documentary,” Pope added.

No start date for the filming of the movie, which is titled “Amarillo Slim,” has been set.

Nicolas Cage is expected to play the legendary gambler, Pope said.

Cage’s company, Saturn Films, and Pope will produce the movie, Pope said.

After meeting with Cage at Cage’s home in Los Angeles, Preston, 78, was convinced he was a good fit.

“We hit it off good,” Preston said. “We’ve become buddies.”

A strike by the Writers Guild of America will delay the project’s writing, but research can continue, Pope said.

This won’t be the first motion picture for Cage that has a gambling theme.

In 1995 he starred in “Leaving Las Vegas,” portraying a drunk who falls in love with a Vegas hooker.

He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for the role.

As for Preston, he’s had a long and glorious career playing poker, including winning the World Series of Poker.

But in the twilight of his career he has been disgraced–he not long ago pleaded guilty in a court of law to sexually assaulting his own granddaughter.

Poker fans can only wonder whether that episode of Preston’s life will be included in the movie.

(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected])

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