Picture, if you can, a Paul Schrader film about a troubled man. No, actually: a Paul Schrader film about a troubled man, redemption, revenge, and a seedy underworld. Once your world is done being rocked, take note, via Variety, that the living legend’s First Reformed follow-up will be The Card Counter, starring Oscar Isaac as William Tell (in the parlance of our times, “lmao”), a gambler, former serviceman, and card-player living a “spartan existence on the casino trail […] who sets out to reform a young man seeking revenge on a mutual enemy from their past.” The young man, Cirk, seeks to assassinate a military colonel; Tell, with “backing from mysterious gambling financier La Linda,” takes Cirk under his wing on the card-playing trail through America’s casinos, winding up at Las Vegas’ World Series of poker.
One could draw lines to, uh, many Schrader projects from pasts both recent and not-so, though First Reformed—our #1 film of 2018–made clear his concerns have found a distinctly modern (read: catastrophic) center. Returning are that film’s DP, Alexander Dynan, and editor, Benjamin Rodriguez Jr. Production begins early next year.
While you stew in anticipation of this future project, read our interview with Schrader from last year about why there is, in fact, no hope for the future.