If “Shrink” Book Becomes Movie, Here is Who Should Star in it

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:

A book is being written about the controversial life of website operator Ken "The Shrink" Weitzner, who killed himself last year amidst a shroud of mystery.

If by some chance the book becomes a best-seller--or even a good-seller--can a movie based on the book be far behind?

Just in case that unlikely event does occur--that Weitzner's life comes to the big screen--Gambling911.com has come up with a few suggestions as to which Hollywood stars should be cast to play, in a movie, the figures that would presumably appear in a "Shrink" biography:

*KEN WEITZNER--"The Shrink" was a physically handsome man, as most top actors are, so there won't be any shortage of stars who could believably portray him on film. But he also had a stereotypical annoying New York personality, and that could be tough for a run-of-the-mill actor to nail. A seasoned veteran would be needed, someone who could easily mesh good looks with a sneering persona. Nicholas Cage immediately comes to mind. If that's too dark, how about Leonardo DiCaprio? Or DiCaprio light in Matt Damon? If you want to go the other way completely, why not David Spade? Or Jim Carrey? They're all good choices, but Gambling911.com's pick to play "The Shrink" would be Adam Sandler, for his mix of looks, humor and attitude.

*JACKIE WEITZNER--"The Shrink's" wife was cute but certainly not beautiful, so no A-list actress could take on the role without it looking like overkill--and phony. An older B-lister or maybe a former A-lister now on the wane would best fit the bill. Possibilities include Kim Bassinger, Anne Archer and Sharon Stone. But the best choice would be Glenn Close.

*BILLY WALTERS--"The Shrink" worked for a time as a "beard" for professional sports bettor Walters, making large sports wagers online for him. Though he lived in Las Vegas, Walters is originally from Kentucky, so any actor portraying him will have to have a natural-flowing Southern drawl. And a fun side. Billy Bob Thornton is a natural for the role.

*JAY COHEN--"The Shrink" was one of the earliest supporters of Cohen and his online sportsbook, World Sports Exchange, and the book was one of Weitzner's earliest advertisers. They were both from Long Island and they made each other lots of money. "The Shrink" promoted the book with ads and favorable editorial commentary and Cohen, whose business increased, gave him bagfuls of cash. So Cohen played a pivotal role in Weitzner's rise in the sports betting portal biz, and so should be in the book. And who would play him in the movie? Here's a vote for Jerry Seinfeld.

*ALAN LUPO-The former sportsbook director at the Stardust casino in Las Vegas invited Weitzner to participate in a prestigious Stardust football handicapping contest for media figures. The event gave "The Shrink" tremendous national exposure and raised his profile immensely in Sin City, where he loved to be recognized. So Lupo played a prominent role in Weitzner's rise to fame in the industry, and would merit mention in any Weitzner tome. Possibilities for the movie role include Al Pacino and Danny Aiello, but the nod must go to Robert DeNiro, who previously played Stardust sportsbook creator Ace "Lefty Rosenthal" Rothstein in the film "Casino."

*DENNIS ATIYEH--Atiyeh owned and operated English Sports Betting, an offshore sportsbook in Jamaica that didn't advertise with Weitzner, so "The Shrink" constantly badmouthed the book online. One day Atiyeh had enough and sued "The Shrink" for libel. Weitzner countersued. The feud lasted for years and was the buzz of the online gambling community for just as long. Any legitimate book on Weitzner would have to encompass the episode. Atiyeh was a former college football player at the University of Pittsburgh, so the actor who would portray him on film would have to be in good athletic shape. Dean Cain, who played college football at Princeton and then Superman on TV, would be perfect casting for the role.

*BRIAN GEORGIA--Georgia co-ran BettorsWorld, a rival website to Weitzner's, and they competed bitterly for ad dollars. And it was no secret they hated each other's guts. At one point "The Shrink" sued Georgia over a mass e-mail Georgia sent out badmouthing Weitzner. After Georgia reminded Weitzner that Weitzner once put Georgia in his "insane asylum"--a page on The Prescription where Weitzner ripped his enemies--"The Shrink" dropped the lawsuit. Georgia, who is very short, almost dwarflike, would have been a perfect role for Mickey Rooney, but unfortunately Mick's around 90 and not doing too much acting any more. So we'll go with a more contemporary shorty, Danny DeVito.

*CHRIS COSTIGAN--The owner of Gambling911.com once worked for "The Shrink," writing articles for his first website, The Prescription, including landmark coverage of Jay Cohen's Federal trial for online bookmaking. The coverage legitamized The Prescription, and by extension, Weitzner, as a credible news source. Costigan and Weitzner later had a falling out after Weitzner as a joke spiked Costigan's drink with an unknown substance at a San Jose, Costa Rica bar, and Costigan got severely ill. Costigan later started his own gambling-themed website, but he remains a key figure in the Weitzner timeline. Who would play him in a movie is a slam dunk. Costigan's nickname, "Sting," comes from his uncanny resemblance to the former frontman of the rock band The Police, Gordon "Sting" Sumner, so of course, "Sting" would play "Sting."

By Tom Somach

Gambling911.com Staff Writer


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