Buddy comedy 'Last Vegas' hits jackpot with senior star wattage

Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:02am EDT
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By Mary Milliken

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman has a conundrum at 76 years of age: he gets plenty of job offers, but the roles tend to be serious and they only beget more serious roles.

"I would do anything that got me out of gravitas," said the actor, who has played the likes of a prison inmate in 1994's "The Shawshank Redemption" and Nelson Mandela in 2009's "Invictus" over a prolific career.

So when the script for senior buddy comedy "Last Vegas" rolled his way, Freeman snapped it up. And so did three more of Hollywood's top actors - Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas and Kevin Kline - in what turned out to be an embarrassment of casting riches for a film of somewhat modest means. It opens in U.S. theaters on Friday.

Incredibly, considering their long and varied careers, the four had never worked together and had barely socialized.

"Between professional screenings and this or that, we know each other and say hi, but we didn't have the intimacy that you are witnessing," Douglas said, joking alongside his three co-stars while promoting the film at a Las Vegas casino.

The four said they were drawn to the film by the prospect of working with each other and by the "material" - a script that shakes off the senior cobwebs.

Douglas, 69, is Billy, a hot-shot Malibu lawyer about to marry a much younger woman. De Niro, 70, plays Paddy, who holes himself up in his Brooklyn house after his wife's death. Freeman is Archie, who has suffered a stroke and chafes under his overprotective son's care. Kline, 66, is Sam, a bored Florida retiree who gets permission and a dose of Viagra from his wife to have a fling in Vegas.

Brought together for Billy's bachelor party, they stop talking about prostate and heart problems and turn to gambling, heavy drinking, flirting, dancing, clubbing, bikini-contest judging and winning over a Las Vegas crowd skewed toward youth.   Continued...

Cast members of "Last Vegas" (L-R) Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Mary Steenburgen, and Robert De Niro, attend the premiere of the movie in New York, October 29, 2013. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz