HE to Paul Schrader a few minutes ago: “Great news about The Card Counter (Focus, 9.10.21) allegedly going to Venice and Telluride. I don’t know this for a fact, but Jordan Ruimy alleges from Cannes that you spilled the beans during a recent q & a, stating that The Card Counter will in fact be premiering on the Lido and, two or three days later, in the happy hamlet of Telluride.”

Boilerplate synopsis: A gambler called William Tell (Oscar Isaac) attempts to give guidance to a young guy named Virk (Tye Sheridan) who is out for revenge against a mutual enemy (presumably a character named “Major John Gordo”, played by Willem Dafoe). Tiffany Haddish plays a character named “La Linda.” (Do I have this right?)

HE to Focus marketing: The Venice and Telluride debuts are roughly six weeks off — isn’t it time for a trailer? Not to mention the 9.10.21 commercial debut.

Schrader to L.A. Times guy Mark Olsen on 9.11.20: “I don’t want to get too deeply involved in the plot, but what I will say is [that] over the years I’ve kind of developed my own little genre of films. And they usually involve a man alone in a room, wearing a mask, and the mask is his occupation.

“So it could be a taxi driver, a drug dealer, a gigolo, a reverend, whatever. And I take that character and run it alongside a larger problem, personal or social. It could be debilitating loneliness like in Taxi Driver. It could be a midlife crisis [as] in Light Sleeper. It could be an environmental crisis like in First Reformed.

“So now I have a character and he’s in his room, he’s alone. And he has a mask on. And the mask he wears is a professional poker player. And the problem that runs alongside him is that he’s a former torturer for the U.S. government. So it’s a mix of the World Series of Poker and Abu Ghraib.”