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Cates chips in for poker pic

Helmer makes a 'Deal' for Reynolds, Harrison starrer

A correction was made to this article on Mar. 29, 2006.

Gil Cates Jr. will direct poker pic “Deal,” starring Burt Reynolds and Bret Harrison, for Louisiana-based Crescent City Pictures and producer Michael Arata.

Cates penned the script with Marc Weinstock, exec VP of marketing at Screen Gems.

“Deal,” which begins shooting April 3 in New Orleans, revolves around an ex-gambler who teaches a hot-shot college student how to “play the player,” vs. just the cards. But after the two have a bitter falling out, mentor and student find themselves competing against each other in the World Poker Tour championships.

Pic also stars Shannon Elizabeth, Charles Durning as well as real-life poker players Phil “The Unabomber” Laak, Antonio “The Magician” Esfandari and Vince Van Patten.

Producers are Arata and Crescent City’s Albert Salzer. There is no U.S. distrib yet. Seven Arts Pictures will release the film overseas.

Cates recently wrapped production on the docu “Life After Tomorrow,” which chronicles various actresses who have played orphans in the stage musical “Annie.” He co-directed the pic with Julie Stevens.

Reynolds most recently starred in “The Dukes of Hazzard” and “The Longest Yard.”

Harrison is the star of Fox’s new TV comedy “The Loop.”