Casino Film & TV’s Most Frequent Actors
The film and TV industry is renowned for typecasting roles and that is no different when it comes to productions based in casinos or the gambling industry. Here is a list of 10 actors that regularly show up when there’s a casino on the screen!
Hollywood legend Paul Newman is widely regarded as one of the greatest actors to have ever graced the silver screen. His roles included a number of gambling movies such as playing the iconic “Fast Eddie” Felson in The Hustler (1961). He returned to the role once again for the movie’s sequel, The Color of Money (1986), and received huge praise once again. In addition to those classic movies he also starred in The Sting (1973) as Henry Gondorff. Newman’s chiseled good looks allowed him to bring a new element of cool to the gambling genre in movies.
Veteran actor James Caan has built up a solid portfolio of roles in gangster movies over the years. Ever since he appeared in The Godfather (1972) as Sonny Corleone, he has been typecast as a hardened character with a soft heart. On a number of occasions those roles have crossed over into the gambling genre. Caan took on the lead role as casino magnate Ed Deline in the TV series Las Vegas. His appearance in Honeymoon in Vegas (1992) was less than memorable but it was his performance in The Gambler (1974) as Axel Freed that cemented his identity as a gambling actor.
James Woods may well be more renowned for his cameo voice roles in cartoons such as The Simpsons and Family Guy but he also has an impressive track record in the movie business. Woods had one of his first roles as a bank officer opposite James Caan in The Gambler (1974). He then went on to star in a lead role as Gabriel Caine in Diggstown (1992) and as the pimp Lester Diamond in the critically acclaimed Casino (1995).
Oscar-winning actor Matt Damon is one of the most renowned gambling actors in Hollywood. He has enjoyed his fair share of time at the casino tables but has also starred in a number of gambling-related movies. Undoubtedly, his most memorable role came as reformed gambler Mike McDermott in Rounders (1998). Damon has also been an integral actor in the Ocean’s franchise initially making his debut as Linus Caldwell in Ocean’s Eleven (2001) before also appearing in the sequels of Ocean’s Twelve (2004), Ocean’s Thirteen (2007), and the upcoming Ocean’s 8 (2018). Damon’s enthusiasm for gambling away from filming has certainly translated into his actor for these movies.
Robert De Niro
If one actor personified the image of a stereotypical Las Vegas casino owner from the 1970s then it was Robert De Niro as Sam “Ace” Rothstein in Casino (1995). His ability to blend charming qualities with a ruthless streak was creepy to see. His reputation as a gangster and casino tycoon in the movie industry saw him take on a more comedic side when he starred as OAP Paddy Connors looking for one last big party holiday in Last Vegas (2013). It was a fine example of De Niro being able to adapt his acting skills to a range of serious and hilarious tones all within the gambling genre.
As one of the hottest actresses in the 1990s, Sharon Stone’s stock could not have been higher when she starred in a host of well-received movies. Her role as Ginger McKenna in Casino (1995) saw her reputation sky rocket. It also instantly made her synonymous with gambling due to playing such an iconic role. Her character’s sex appeal combined with an element of insecurity and weakness hit the right note with audiences. A little known fact is that Casino wasn’t Stone’s first foray into a gambling-related movie. She has also starred as Sarah Shipman in the TV movie The Vegas Strip War (1984). It’s almost certain the casting team had this performance in mind when choosing Stone for the role of McKenna. Her involvement in these movies has helped to crown her as the first lady of gambling movies.
One of those actors you will always recognise but might not remember his name is typecast gangster actor Frank Vincent. Most famous for his role as Billy Batts in Goodfellas (1990), Vincent had gone on to make a name for himself in a selection of gambling movies. He turned out as Frank Marino in Casino (1995) but had also previously starred as a mobster dressed in a trench coat in Easy Money (1983). Sadly, he passed away in September, 2017 but will always be associated with gangster and gambling movies.
Paul L. Nolan
You might not remember Paul L. Nolan from his role as a board member in Ocean’s Eleven (2001) but he has once again returned to taking up a role in a gambling-themed movie this year. Nolan plays the role of Mickey in the highly-anticipated All Square (2018). It could be a return to the genre where he seems most suited.
Talented Hollywood actress Gretchen Mol experienced stunning reviews for his performance as Jo opposite Matt Damon and Edward Norton in Rounders (1998). It was a role that helped to elevate her to a new level of acting roles. It wasn’t until her outing as Gillian Darmody in Boardwalk Empire that she returned to the gambling theme once more. Her femme fatale looks and persona made her an ideal fit to play the woman who played such an influential role in the building of Atlantic City’s gambling scene within the TV series. It seems only a matter of time before her sassy characteristics land her another role in a gambling-themed movie or TV show.
It seems like John Turturro has been on the acting scene forever. In fact, for some of our readers, he has been! One of his earliest roles came in The Color of Money (1986) as Julian. He then came back to the gambling genre for his role as Joey Knish in Rounders (1998). It is no surprise that such a versatile actor is able to adapt to the edgy approach needed to act in a gambling movie in order to help it come across as cool and fun.