I sped right by this news this morning, so forgive me for swinging by and picking it up late.  I’m sure a few of you will have something to say about it.

The Coen Brothers long-gestating remake of Gambit is finally moving ahead.  They’ve written the script and are producing, but Michael Hoffman is directing.

Colin Firth, who has been attached a good long while, is set to star.  Now Deadline Hollywood Daily reports that Cameron Diaz is set to be his bubbly and blond conspirator in crime.

The plot has also been changed pretty dramatically.  Firth will be playing a London art curator who cons a wealthy businessman into buying a phony Monet.  Diaz will be playing a Texas steer roper who Firth hires to pose as a woman whose grandfather liberated the painting in World War 2.  I imagine a lot of hijinks ensue, and with the Coen Bros’ penchant for dark humor, Firth and Diaz will meet few nasty (or even bloody) surprises.

The changes should actually soothe fans of the original Gambit. My memories of that film aren’t fresh (it needs a DVD release) but I remember the plot hinged on Shirley MacLaine standing in for the millionaire’s dead wife, not a World War 2 claim. But since Hong Kong showgirls don’t exist anymore (if they ever did), I suppose a Texas steer roper makes as much sense as anything.

I’m always hot and cold on Diaz’s comedy — sometimes she’s genuine; other times she’s shrill and alien. But a Coen Brothers script can often make me like just about anyone.  I hope that proves true here, because I really want this film to work, mainly so American audiences realize just how funny and versatile Firth is.  He’s long overdue for A-List popularity on this side of the sea.