Molly Bloom may not be the name on everyone’s lips right now, but expect that to change this November. That’s when Molly’s Game, a movie adaptation of Bloom’s tell-all memoir. The former Olympic class skier ran, for years, a high stakes poker game frequented by celebrities like Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio. There may have been some light Russian mob involvement.
In case that’s not enough to get your attention, the movie boasts a cast headed up by Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba, and marks the directorial debut of The West Wing creator and The Social Network writer Aaron Sorkin. The first trailer, released today, looks a little something like this:
For those who didn’t follow New York news six years ago, chances are the first anyone heard of Bloom was a Vanity Fair excerpt from her book in 2014, which made the most her story’s glitziness. (For example: “As Rick took a seat, I saw him focus on Ben [Affleck]. I saw the wheels turning. Oh God, I thought, don’t let Rick say anything embarrassing. He had no filter. ‘Hey, yo, did Jennifer’s ass have cellulite on it, or was it nice?’ The table went silent. Ben looked at Rick. 'It was nice,’ he said, and pushed into a huge pot.”) The book was a success — especially among those who wanted to romanticize the “underground world of underground celebrity poker” aspect. Strangely, that wasn’t what got it turned into a movie.
“I read the book and I liked it a lot,” Sorkin told Entertainment Weekly in a recent interview, but it was everything that Bloom hadn’t shared while writing that interested him. “It wasn’t until after meeting her — and it was right after meeting her, that first time we just met for an hour — that I really wanted to write the movie, because I saw the real story was so much bigger than what she had put into the book.”
That story, as he pitches it, is this: “It’s her story of how she went from really having a gold-plated future — she was going to Harvard Law School with an Olympic medal around her neck — so how she went from that to being under a RICO indictment.” You know, that everyday kind of experience we all share.
Of course, telling the movie meant that Sorkin had to step outside his comfort zone. Not merely in the sense that it marks the first time that he’s directed a movie — “God knows I was scared going into it, but I just felt like if I was ever going to do it, it was going to be this,” he told EW — but in terms of research. In order to make certain scenes feel right, the 56-year-old Sorkin went to a club for the first time in his life. Apparently, it was a big deal.
“I’d never been to a club before, so just knowing I’d have to film a scene at one, I had to know what one looks like and what went on there. So I went and sat in 1Oak for about half an hour,” he said. “It seemed like a perfectly fine place. I’m not really… I learned everything I needed to know in that 30 minutes. If I had of been out with friends, I would have stayed longer. It’s a terrific place. Fine time at 1Oak. I don’t want to flag 1Oak. I had a fine time at 1Oak, but I was really… I was there by myself and I just needed to see what went on there.”
When this movie comes out, I want to see articles from 1Oak’s owners on the verisimilitude of the club scenes. If nothing else, we’ll know that they’ll be more accurate than the celebrity moments in the movie, because Sorkin isn’t interested in sharing that kind of details — purely in the spirit of Bloom herself, of course.
“The heroic thing that she does, the thing that she does that has integrity, it that she refuses to dish on all of the famous and important people whose secret that she knows,” he told EW. “She refuses to do that in exchange for either money or her own freedom. So, if she’s going to refuse to do it, then certainly the movie has to.”
Okay, but still: Michael Cera’s got to be playing Tobey Maguire, right? I mean, he has to be.
Molly’s Game will be released in theaters November 22.