It looks like legendary screenwriter Paul Schrader has another hit on his hands with The Card Counter. Oscar Isaac and Tiffany Haddish team up to clean up, with an extra helping of revenge for an ex-vet still suffering from the orders given by a mad man. With a little luck our anti-hero can shake the ghosts of past decisions haunting him.
The official synopsis reads, “Redemption is the long game in Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter. Told with Schrader’s trademark cinematic intensity, the revenge thriller tells the story of an ex-military interrogator turned gambler haunted by the ghosts of his past decisions, and features riveting performances from stars Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish, Tye Sheridan and Willem Dafoe.”
With cinematic treasures like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, T he Last Temptation of Christ, and American Gigolo under his belt, it’s no surprise Paul Schrader’s latest trailer for his revenge thriller captures you within seconds. As with most of his films, there is no one good guy and bad guy, they are people, who despite their flaws, we root for them anyway. The casting decisions also allow actors to stretch their capabilities to surprise the audience with an unexpected pivot in roles.
When asked about her take, Tiffany Haddish admitted, “I didn’t understand the script at first. Nobody said if it’s comedy or drama. I read it three times. Third time, I said, ‘Ooh, I could knock this out the park.’ Great way for people to see me do something new but still bring the ‘Haddish’ through. It’s about a former vet (played by Oscar Isaac) who has PTSD, likes playing poker, has a poker face and is so intense that his character could win an Oscar.”
Explaining her character she says, “She’s an agent-slash-pimp. She’s a middleman. She’s getting this guy to these poker events and getting him funded. She’s fronting, giving him money to do things. I’m not slanging him, but I’m definitely slanging his talents.”
When asked about being directed by Paul Schrader, she illustrates his directions that help her become someone different to herself and the audience. “He was like, ‘Tiffany, when you talk, it sounds like you’re singing. Stop singing.’ I’m like, ‘I’m not singing.’ ‘Yes, you are.’ ‘I don’t sing when I talk.’ ‘You’re definitely singing when you’re talking.’ Then I realized, oh wait, I do sing when I talk. That’s just the way I talk. I think it comes from doing standup. So it was a lot of me working on trying not to have the singsong voice. He did talk about the themes of the film and stuff. I’m like, ‘Why is Oscar’s character doing this (expletive) with this furniture?’ He was like, ‘That’s not your problem to worry about. That’s more on Oscar. Your character, you’re a charmer. But not as charming as you are in real life. Be charming but not too charming.”
I can’t wait for the charming, but not too charming, turn for Tiffany Haddish. Focus Features will release Paul Schrader’s bound-to-be hit The Card Counter in theaters on September 10.