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Rounders Co-Writer Brian Koppelman Posts Original Screenplay For Poker Movie Online

Original Rounders Script: "Sorry Phil, I Don't Remember"


Hollywood director and writer Brian Koppelman surprised the poker world on Monday by posting the original screenplay to the cult hit Rounders, a 1998 poker drama starring Matt Damon, Ed Norton, and John Malkovich.

The script is remarkably similar to the final product in the movie, however, there are a few key differences. The most noticeable contrast is the name of the main character, which was originally Matt McDermott, not Mike.

Brian Koppelman“We felt like it might seem weird to have Matt play Matt,” Koppelman explained on Twitter. McDermott was played by Oscar winner Matt Damon.

Another key difference in the plot occurs when McDermott reveals the details of a high-stakes game in Atlantic City to John Turturro’s character Joey Knish.

The scene, which you can watch below, features 10-time WSOP bracelet winner Johnny Chan. The first draft of the screenplay, however, called for 15-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth.

“Sorry Phil, I don’t remember,” just doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

Rounders received positive reviews when it opened but remained largely overlooked until the poker boom in the early 2000s gave the film a second life. Many poker pros credit the movie for introducing them to the game, and it was so popular, that one man paid €110,000 at a charity auction to play poker with actor Ed Norton and ask him about his character in the movie, Worm.

Rumors about a sequel persisted for years, with Damon stating that any follow-up would have to focus on online poker. But he later said a sequel would be impossible due to the lack of a DVD market.

Koppelman himself got so sick of being asked about Rounders 2, that he prefaced a Twitter Q and A by writing, “I will answer questions on any subject, but if you ask me about a sequel to Rounders, I will make up some bullshit.”

Koppelman co-wrote Rounders with David Levien. His other credits include producing The Illusionist, The Lucky Ones, and I Smile Back, while also directing Knockaround Guys and Solitary Man, and writing Walking Tall, Runaway Jury, The Girlfriend Experience, Ocean’s Thirteen, and the Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake-driven online poker movie, Runner Runner.