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Like poker itself, the story behind the making of ROUNDERS is not just one of luck, but one of skill. Two years prior to the day that ROUNDERS began shooting principal photography (December 15th, 1997), co-writer Brian Koppelman walked into a Manhattan poker club and knew instantly that there was a story to be told. "... I took a look around at the people, I listened to what they were talking about, I watched the action, and at around two in the morning, I called [co-writer] David [Levien] and I woke him up and I said 'We have to write a movie about this.' And we started writing the next day." A year later, after the script was discovered by Ted Demme's and Joel Stillerman's Spanky Pictures, Koppelman and his writing partner David Levien scored a greenlight by Miramax Films. John Dahl was soon attached to direct the film which was to star Matt Damon, an actor he had been impressed with after watching some advance footage of the soon-to-be-blockbuster "Good Will Hunting." Damon and Edward Norton signed on to star in ROUNDERS, a film about friendship amidst the world of back room poker games, and ones man's journey to find his passion in life.

Set against the backdrop of New York's high-stakes underground poker world, ROUNDERS is the tale of one man's journey to pursue his ultimate dream. Matt Damon ("Good Will Hunting," "John Grisham's The Rainmaker" and "Saving Private Ryan") stars as Mike McDermott, a master card player who trades the poker-playing ways for a shot at a new life. Mike is attending law school and spending time with his girlfriend and classmate Jo, played by Gretchen Mol ("The Last Time I Committed Suicide," Woody Allen's upcoming "Celebrity"). For Mike, the law school route is a legitimate road to success, but it's short on thrills and the excitement of back-room poker games. Then, when a longtime friend named Worm, played by Edward Norton ("Primal Fear," "The People vs. Larry Flynt" and the upcoming "American History X"), is released from prison, Mike is faced with the high-stakes dilemma of dealing himself back into the world of the "rounders" for the sake of his friend.

ROUNDERS also stars John Malkovich ("Dangerous Liasons," "The Killing Fields," "Of Mice and Men") as the seedy Russian card shark Teddy KGB, who runs the biggest and most dangerous game in town; John Turturro ("Barton Fink," "Quiz Show," "He Got Game," and "The Truce") as Joey Knish, Mike's old-time poker guide; and Martin Landau ("Crimes and Misdemeanors", "Ed Wood," "Tucker") as Professor Petrovsky, Mike's law school dean and mentor. Famke Janssen ("City of Industry", "Deep Rising," Woody Allen's upcoming "Celebrity" and Ted Demme's upcoming "Monument Ave.") also stars as Petra, a card player who runs the Chesterfields poker club. As the stakes rise, each one of these people deals a hand in Mike's ultimate fate.

ROUNDERS is directed by John Dahl ("Red Rock West," "The Last Seduction"), and written by David Levien and Brian Koppelman. The film is produced by Ted Demme and Joel Stillerman of SPANKY PICTURES. Kerry Orent is the Executive Producer.

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