Movie in the works for “The Prince of Dice.”

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on April 22, 2012 0 Comments


Jack Engelhard


Been contacted by certain party (A-List Hollywood actor/producer) to turn this novel of mine into a movie. Top secret if and until something is finalized.


(Anyway, we don’t want to jinx this, do we.)


This Hollywood party sees the film as the second-coming of “The Hustler,” the Paul Newman classic. Or maybe “The Cincinnati Kid.”


Or maybe any fast-draw artist who comes to town to finish off the bad guys.


“The Prince of Dice” was published exclusively on Kindle some weeks ago and can be checked out here. It’s about Julian Rothschild, a gambler so gifted and mysterious and mystical that when he shoots those dice he always scores. He’s unbeatable. To Julian gambling is a form of religion and his shooting those ivories is a form of prayer. The Atlantic City and Vegas bosses (tired of losing their millions to him) think he’s a cheat and are out to bring him down, so that finally it becomes a game for life or death. (His supernatural powers with dice come from a Biblical parchment he found in the Sinai desert.)


This Hollywood person has offered an interesting twist for the screenplay…to turn Julian Rothschild into Jane Rothschild. I don’t know if I agree with this.


Either way, will it get done? Who knows? Getting a novel to succeed into film is…well…a craps shoot. When Paramount bought my novel “Indecent Proposal” here it took four years to get it done, which seems like a long time until you consider that 99 percent of all novels never get that far. Did I get lucky?


Yes…but let’s not talk about my failures…and let’s not talk about all the work that needs doing, and all the years of rejection, until we get “lucky” with a book that sold some five million copies around the world and a movie that took in $260 million at the box office. Let’s not talk about banging away on the novel at the kitchen table with the temperature 99 degrees and rising and the air conditioning turned off because you can’t afford the electric bill…BEFORE all that happened!


So we never know.


(Amid the success one so-called friend rapped me on the shoulder and said, “Now you’ve got it made.” What an idiot! Nobody ever has it MADE.)


Nikila Cole (Canada’s classy A-List Film-maker) approached me something like 10 years ago to film the opening story of my book of memoirs “Escape from Mount Moriah” here and just when it seemed like it would never happen she got it done, and done beautifully. The film, “My Father, Joe,” has won numerous awards around the world and was even honored last year at CANNES.


ON THE OTHER HAND (there is always the “alas” in this life of ours) a big-time New York producer bought the rights to my novel about the 1960s/JFK/Greenwich Village, “The Days of the Bitter End” here…bought it about 15 years ago…and we even shared writing the screenplay…and I am still waiting.


Today’s offer will surely come with “suggested changes” from page to screen but I’ve grown to really like my guy Julian Rothschild. Don’t want him touched up.


I do understand, however, that a movie is a movie and a book is a book.


A movie is about pictures, a book is about words…obvious, but it’s around here where novelists get to slobbering and sobbing.


Look, once you go this route…page to screen…it’s really out of your hands. Frankly, though this Hollywood person wants me to work on the screenplay for “The Prince of Dice” I have already declined. I’m a novelist, not a screenwriter, though I’ve written two or three but hate the process…kills the rhythm of my writing. So I’ll trust, if I go ahead with this deal.


I never write (novels) with movies in mind, but for “The Prince of Dice,” yes, and I can see it clearly, even have the actor picked out…male and female.


As for me, I’m happy enough with the novel itself and if a movie happens it happens. We never count our blessings on this until principal photography.


Even after that we never know how things will turn out…it all depends on luck…or like everything else in life, depends on the roll of the dice.








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