One legendary weekend
As casts go Last Vegas looks pretty impressive. Three silver-haired Oscar winning legends of the silver screen -Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline - are on hand to give another Oscar winner, Michael Douglas, a stag party send off he’ll remember in, you’ve guessed it, Las Vegas! What could go wrong? :)
Douglas’s character Billy is a sworn bachelor so a sense of shock prevails when his three chums learn that he has proposed to his girlfriend; who is, of course, some thirty years his junior! In fact the age of the bride-to-be prompts a great quip from Freeman, “I have a haemorrhoid that’s almost 32.” Undeterred, they make their way to Vegas to give Billy a final single swansong.
The comedy drama is written by Dan Fogelman (Crazy Stupid Love) and was in fact penned before the first The Hangover film. Directorial duties are taken on by Jon Turteltaub, responsible for films such as the National Treasure franchise and the comedy Cool Runnings. The ensemble cast also boasts support from Oscar-winning actress Mary Steenburgen. So, it is certainly a film that has all the right ingredients to be a comedy classic.
Despite this being the first joint venture for the male leads, they have enjoyed success with comedies independently. De Niro, of course, has starred as mobster Paul Vetty in Analyze This and the sequel Analyze That as well as the Fockers franchise. Freeman hit the right comedic notes in films such as Nurse Betty, and the Almightys, Bruce and Evan. Kevin Kline’s career is jam packed with comedies including his Oscar winning turn in A Fish Called Wanda. Douglas has played it for laughs in The War of the Roses and The Wonder Boys.
Douglas’s career trajectory is the stuff of many a Hollywood tale. Born into Hollywood royalty, the son of Issur Danielovitch, who found fame as the Oscar winning actor Kirk Douglas with films including Spartacus, Paths of Glory and Seven Days in May and actress Diana Douglas. Michael Douglas first found success on the small screen in the long running 70s series ‘The Streets of San Francisco’ alongside a contemporary of his father’s, Karl Malden.
His father would play an intrinsic role in his first brush with Oscar success. Douglas senior had struggled for years to find the backing to bring an adaptation of Ken Kesey’s hit novel ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ to the screen. Even with such a recognised star as Kirk Douglas willing to play the role of psychiatric patient Patrick McMurphy, and produce the film, he failed to find a studio willing to green-light the project.
Come the mid-70s and flush from his TV success, Michael optioned the book rights from his father and set about finding the budget needed. By this time Kirk was deemed too old to play the lead role, that was passed to Jack Nicholson with Milos Forman stepping in as director. The film would win five Oscars including Best Picture for Douglas, (as producer), and propel his film career into orbit.
A run of success followed as a star and producer with hit films such as The China Syndrome, Romancing the Stone, The Jewel of the Nile and Fatal Attraction. He won his second Oscar, this time as a Lead Actor, for his stunning portrayal as the morally corrupt and ruthless stock market trader, Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street.
With two Academy Awards and countless other accolades his is a career that sits comfortably alongside his famous father with success right up to the present day with Steven Soderbergh’s acclaimed Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra.
Last Vegas opens January 3rd 2014