Posts Tagged ‘“Molly’s’

“Molly’s Game” Premieres Today with Jessica Chastain Garnering Oscar Buzz

 “Molly’s Game” Premieres Today with Jessica Chastain Garnering Oscar Buzz

With Christmas just around the corner, time for many people might be a bit short. For those who are finished with their preparations (lucky dogs!), a movie might be in the cards. For those who have a fondness for poker, the latest attempt at a “poker movie” hits screens across the country and around the world today, with Oscar buzz aplenty.

After a long buildup Molly’s Game, the directorial debut of screenwriter Aaron Sorkin that stars Jessica Chastain as the titular star of the film and Idris Elba as her attorney. If you don’t know the story of the book penned by Molly Bloom, it is the story of a plucky underdog that was able to overcome the odds and become a winner…

OK, that’s not true, at least most of it. Molly’s Game, based on the book of the same name written by Bloom, was her expose of her time running and operating the biggest cash games around. From Hollywood, where Bloom ran her game for actors, directors, and other businessmen, to New York, where hedge fund managers, stockbrokers and politicians got in the game, Bloom detailed her time hustling to make a good deal of money for herself, all from tips from the players. It also detailed the down side, which saw Bloom abuse drugs, be stalked by the Russian mob and, eventually, her arrest by federal agents for illegal gambling (Bloom says it was because she started taking a rake off her games).

The poker world has anointed the film the “next big poker film,” but Sorkin has been trying to quash those thoughts from the start. And, to be honest, there is very little poker in the film. What does make the film, however, is the star turn of Chastain, who has been nominated twice for an Academy Award but never won. That may change with Molly’s Game.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Chastain discussed her interactions with Bloom and her research into portraying the complex lady. “To understand how she got trapped by these people, this was hard, and I think I was guilty of some judgment,” the Mail quoted Chastain. “We as a society have fallen to the pattern of blaming women for things, the way they look, dismissing them, shaming them for revealing their bodies. I absolutely had that judgment before I met her.”

According to Chastain, she felt that Bloom’s reasons for creating and running these poker games – where millions of dollars were on the table and Bloom herself says she earned upwards of $ 4 million per year from running – was, in part, a response to her father’s treatment. “It comes from her childhood. Her dad made it clear that he made the rules,” Chastain said in the interview. “She would have to follow them until she makes her own money. So, she goes for an industry where she feels she can get that liberty.”

Much like the book, there won’t be any names mentioned in the cinematic version of Molly’s Game. Bloom, who was privy to a great deal of private information from very powerful people, chose not to broach those trusts in her tome (the closest she gets to dirt is against actor Tobey Maguire, who comes off as a douche in the book). Sorkin, in adapting Bloom’s book into a screenplay, held to that bond and didn’t reveal any dirt either.

The film itself has earned quite a bit of awards buzz for its participants. Chastain has already earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress and there is considerable attention being given to Sorkin (Adapted Screenplay), Chastain and Elba (Best Actor) for this year’s Oscars. Whether it will meet the critics’ high standards remains to be seen, however.

Molly’s Game opens today in a limited release, with a wide release set for the beginning of January. The cinemaplex is a bit crowded this weekend, with the release of Hugh Jackman’s musical The Greatest Showman, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Jumanji:  Welcome to the Jungle, and Matt Damon’s Downsizing all in the mix (and another Academy Award hopeful in All the Money in the World coming on Christmas Day). If you’ve been good and got all your Christmas responsibilities completed, some time at the cinema might be just what the doctor ordered.

The post “Molly’s Game” Premieres Today with Jessica Chastain Garnering Oscar Buzz appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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More Actors Join Cast of “Molly’s Game”

 More Actors Join Cast of “Molly’s Game”

As it slowly works its way towards filming, more actors have been named to participate in screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s first soiree into filmmaking with Molly’s Game. The actors are all character actors that have had a great deal of success in television and films and they will be taking up peripheral roles in Molly’s Game.

First up is Chris O’Dowd, best known for his roles in the films Bridesmaids and This is 40 and for adding his talents to the HBO series Girls. In 2014, O’Dowd made his Broadway debut in the play Of Mice and Men and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor. O’Dowd will take on the role of the New York player who introduces Bloom, to be played by Academy Award nominated actor Jessica Chastain, to the Russian mob.

Joining O’Dowd in the film is Jeremy Strong, who most recently starred in the Academy Award nominated film The Big Short and previously starred with Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty. He has also had roles in other prominent films such as the Steven Spielberg film Lincoln and Ava DuVernay’s Selma. Strong will play the real estate agent/“party dude” who first gets Bloom organizing the games before she takes them over for good.

Bill Camp has earned notice for his work on the HBO series The Night Of, but he has an involvement that goes back to one of poker’s seminal moments. Camp was a part of the notable poker film Rounders, playing “Eisenberg” (one of the players at the table in the Taj Mahal when the denizens of the “Chesterfield Club” journey to New Jersey). In Molly’s Game, Camp will play a participant in the games that gets behind in what he owes the other players in the game.

Finally, Graham Greene will take to the screen in the film as the judge that hears Bloom’s case. Greene is an actor whose resume is lengthy, dating back to 1976 and including appearances in the films Dancing with Wolves, Die Hard with a Vengeance and The Green Mile. Graham has also appeared on a myriad of television programs, including L. A. Law, Northern Exposure and Murder, She Wrote.

Along with these gentlemen and Chastain, noted actors Idris Elba (playing Bloom’s attorney), Kevin Costner (Bloom’s father), Broadway star Brian d’Arcy James and Michael Cera are a part of the proceedings.

The film in based on the “tell all” story that Molly Bloom, the former skiing champion who, after a debilitating injury, took to organizing high stakes poker games for Hollywood’s elite initially and then New York City’s richest and most powerful people. The games, which could see six-figure swings per hand, made Bloom quite a bit of money, but they also brought attention. In fact, it was after her move to New York City that Bloom was arrested as a part of a Russian gambling ring; the only woman charged, she plea bargained to a misdemeanor and received probation in 2013.

The book itself was seen by some as more air than sizzle as it failed to name names and dish the dirt on the participants in the games. In Hollywood, it is well known that actors Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire were all a part of the game, with Maguire being slightly pointed out as a less-than pleasant person. It was also the setting for a lawsuit after businessman Bradley Ruderman participated in the poker nights offered by Bloom, often losing massive amounts of money that was eventually found to have been the property of clients of his hedge fund schemes. But Bloom didn’t offer any stories that could be constituted as tarnishing any of the images of the players in the game.

Sorkin, who is responsible for adapting the book into a screenplay for the movie, has stated that he will hold to the Bloom “no names” mantra, not mixing in any of the alleged dirt on the participants. Molly’s Game will be his first directorial effort after being the creator and writer of such television programs as The West Wing, The Newsroom and Sports Night, the play and movie A Few Good Men and the movies The Social Network, Bulworth, Moneyball and Steve Jobs.

The film began filming earlier this month, but no firm release date has been set other than “sometime in 2017.” Despite a strong cast, whether the film captures the attention of the poker world remains to be seen.

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Oscar Winner Costner, Broadway’s d’Arcy James Linked to “Molly’s Game”

 Oscar Winner Costner, Broadway’s d’Arcy James Linked to “Molly’s Game”

While it looked like a longshot at the beginning of the year, the proposed movie version of Molly’s Game – the memoir penned by “The Poker Princess” Molly Bloom back in 2014 – is gaining speed towards fruition. The movie, to be the directorial debut of screenwriter extraordinaire Aaron Sorkin, has recently added a couple of new cast members and there is a set date to begin filming next month.

While the cast already includes Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain starring as Bloom and Golden Globe winner Idris Elba in the role of her attorney, there was the obvious lack of a true old style “star power” for the film. That seems to have been filled by Academy Award winner Kevin Costner, who is allegedly in talks to take on the role of Bloom’s father in the production. Currently there hasn’t been a firm announcement that the contract has been signed, but it is expected to be a mere formality.

Costner has been one of the United States’ greatest male actors, earning his stripes in such beloved films as Silverado, American Flyers, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams and The Untouchables. That was but the start of his career, however, as 1990 saw him win two Oscars (for Best Picture and Best Director, plus a nomination for Best Actor), for his starring role in Dancing with Wolves. Since then, Costner has starred in Oliver Stone’s JFK, the comedy Tin Cup and won an Emmy and a Golden Globe in 2012 for his Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries performance as William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield in the History Channel miniseries Hatfields & McCoys.

Another name that has been attached to Molly’s Game might not be as readily known to fans, but he brings his own outstanding list of credentials to the show. Brian d’Arcy James, who has been working his way into the Tinseltown setting through his work in the 2015 Spotlight (winner of the Academy Award), is set to appear in Molly’s Game, although the exact role d’Arcy James will play isn’t known. Prior to his work in Spotlight, d’Arcy James had made his mark in another sector of the entertainment industry.

He is a Tony Award nominated performer for the musical Something Rotten! and is currently appearing on the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Molly’s Game will only be one six different films that d’Arcy James will be a part of in 2017, including the story of Watergate’s “Deep Throat” in the film Felt.

What isn’t known is just how much of Bloom’s book will be making it into the film. Originally thought to be the earth-shattering expose of the celebrity underground poker world, Bloom instead wrote a completely different story. In her book, Bloom told a story of her journey from a potential Olympic skier to a runner for a gambler to running her own games in both Los Angeles and New York that were attended by celebrities such as actors Ben Affleck and Tobey Maguire, Hollywood directors and executives, billionaire businessmen and other elites. Instead of the scathing story of “who did what,” however, Bloom kept the juicier stories to herself and instead delved into her own background in organizing the games and offered her own personal “navel gazing” as to why she was working in the industry.

It is expected that Sorkin is going to follow much of this same line. In interviews he has given, Sorkin has stated the movie is a “journey of discovery” and that he will not be dropping famous names into the story for “shock value.” The writing of the screenplay (by Sorkin) is supposed to use Elba’s attorney character as the mechanism to get “Bloom” (Chastain) to tell her story to him.

It has also been a lengthy journey for Molly’s Game to reach this point. Originally then-Sony Productions chairman Amy Pascal wanted Sorkin to work on another film, but Sorkin used his ample influence (and his work in such films as The Social Network and A Few Good Men and his television work on The West Wing) to push for the Bloom book adaptation. It also didn’t hurt that Pascal resigned in 2014 after North Korean e-mail hacks revealed embarrassing statements made by Pascal about Sorkin (and other people) during the negotiations.

As the cast continues to slowly leak out, it is expected that production will begin sometime before the end of the year. As of this time, there is no outlet set to release the film, but Sony is considered a frontrunner because of Sorkin’s previous work with the company.

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Actor Idris Elba Joins “Molly’s Game,” But Problems Arise

 Actor Idris Elba Joins “Molly’s Game,” But Problems Arise

The directorial debut for screenwriter Aaron Sorkin – the poker-themed Molly’s Game, based on the book of the same name written by “The Poker Princess” Molly Bloom – is beginning to fill out as to its cast. While that is normally a good thing for a film, there are other problems that have arose for the production that are putting its future in a bit of jeopardy.

According to the Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit, British actor Idris Elba has joined the cast of the film as the male lead opposite of actor Jessica Chastain, who had been previously cast to play the part of Bloom in the film. Elba’s character, which went unnamed in Kit’s report, will be Chastain’s criminal defense lawyer that “learns that there is much more to Molly than the tabloids lead us to believe.” Sorkin himself was particularly excited for the pairing of two actors, commenting, “The casting of Jessica and Idris in the two lead roles is any filmmaker’s dream come true. They’re two of the greatest actors of their generation, paired for the first time, and their chemistry will be electric.”

Elba has an outstanding background in television and cinema, most notably starring on HBO’s The Wire as drug lord Russell “Stringer” Bell. From that acclaimed program, Elba went on to the BBC’s Luther, which earned him a Golden Globe award in 2012 for Best Actor. Most recently, Elba was vastly overlooked for his role in the film Beasts of No Nation, which many thought should have netted Elba an Academy Award nomination.

Elba’s exact role in the movie seems to be something that Sorkin will be using as a literary device to drive the story. Throughout her book, Bloom does not mention any attorneys that were particularly noteworthy – especially any that were noteworthy after her arrest in the massive Russian gambling ring in 2013 – and her run-ins with the law were minimal when she was operating as one of the best poker hostesses in the world. Then again, Sorkin seems to be taking quite a bit of artistic license with his adaptation of the screenplay.

In some interviews regarding his work with Molly’s Game, Sorkin has admitted that he will not be using the actual names of players who appeared at the tables Bloom provided. As such, the stories of actors such as Tobey Maguire, Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio and others battling it out with Hollywood producers, businessmen and various “power brokers” from international finance won’t be making it to the screen. “I don’t want the movie to be about gossip,” Sorkin has previously said about the film, basically stating that he is more interested in Bloom’s personal story of struggling to “find herself” and, in the end, not give up a story to make a buck – something that might not sit well with the studios or the potential audience.

In fact, it isn’t sitting well with one of Sorkin’s major supporters. Previously thought to be the frontrunner to be the distributor for Molly’s Game due to their close ties with his previous works, Sony Pictures has reportedly pulled out as distributor of the Sorkin film in the United States. The films financial backing, WME Global and CAA, now will have to take the film to the Cannes Film Festival in France to find a new distributor. The Cannes Film Festival started on Wednesday and will conclude on May 22.

With the resumes of those involved, it shouldn’t take them long to find a new distributor. Besides Chastain (a two-time Academy Award nominee) and Elba, Sorkin is arguably one of the best U. S. screenwriter/playwrights of the last 50 years. The creator of the play and screenwriter for A Few Good Men, Sorkin has penned some of the most seminal work in television and theatrical history. In addition to A Few Good Men, Sorkin has also written and/or created The American President, Bulworth, Sports Night, The West Wing, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Social Network, Moneyball, The Newsroom and Steve Jobs. He has also won five Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards and an Academy Award.

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Aaron Sorkin Won’t Use “Actual” Names in Movie Adaptation of “Molly’s Game”

 Aaron Sorkin Won’t Use “Actual” Names in Movie Adaptation of “Molly’s Game”

For those that were looking for a big blockbuster expose of the A-listers from Hollywood that frequented the biggest poker games around in the early Ought’s, you’re going to be disappointed. According to the screenwriter and director, he’s not going to “name names,” so to speak.

According to several outlets, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin is hard at work adapting author Molly Bloom’s tome Molly’s Game for the big screen. Also slated to be his directorial debut, Sorkin has been adamant that he will not be using the names of the players that took part in Bloom’s offerings, which included Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. “A number of people in the game are bold face names, they’re people who you would know,” Sorkin commented to reporter Emily Morgan recently. “You can Google this and see the sort of tabloid version of the story, but there’s a much better story under the tabloid version of the story.”

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Sorkin is seeing another story in Bloom’s book, not the dashing poker tale replete with movie stars, Hollywood executives, hedge fund managers, businessmen and the like. “I don’t want the movie to be about gossip,” Sorkin said to reporter Stephen Galloway. “I wouldn’t want it to [be], under any circumstances, but in this particular case, the reason why she is a movie hero, the reason why she’s worth writing about in the first place, is that by the end of the whole thing – even if it meant saving her life, guaranteeing her own freedom, she wouldn’t have to go to jail for four years, even if it meant the restoration of all the money the government took away from her- she would not name a single [person], she wouldn’t tell a story. She could have. She wrote a book for which she could have gotten a $ 2 million advance. She got a $ 35,000 advance instead.”

While Sorkin is saying that he will go to “great lengths” to obscure the identities of people who played in the game, Bloom was only descriptive about one in her book and it was perhaps because of the ludicrousness of the situation. We at Poker News Daily reviewed Bloom’s book in late 2014 and had this to say about that particular situation:

Coming off as the hugest douche of her group (according to Bloom’s writing) was actor Tobey Maguire. Bloom acquiesces to nearly all of his demands for playing in her game (knowledge of who was playing and usage of a shuffling machine that he provided for a fee, among others) and Maguire ended up screwing Bloom in the end. First, he attempts to force her to earn a meager tip of $ 1000 (with more than a quarter million of his money in the game) by making her sit on a table and bark for it. Then, he pushes her out of the game because he believes that she is making “too much” money through her tips. While Maguire has proven to be very impersonal during his trips to the World Series of Poker (to the point of being quite the jerk), these steps (if true) go way over the line.

Sorkin has apparently finished the screenplay, but an actual cast hasn’t been put together yet. Jessica Chastain has been rumored to be in the running to portray Bloom on the silver screen, but there is no other information as to other cast members. There also isn’t a studio behind the effort, although Sony Pictures has been an outlet for Sorkin’s previous works.

If, and, or when Molly’s Game comes to the big screen, people probably aren’t going to see very much that was a part of the book. Sorkin says he will be focused on Bloom’s early life (“She was this close to going to the Olympics”), including her schooling at Harvard University and how she came to California to try to decide what to do with her future. The 12 years that she spent running the biggest cash games in the world – ones that would frequently net her six-figure sums for organizing said games – might actually be a sidelight come the final cut of the screenplay.

According to Sorkin, he has come up with the close of the film and it is what Bloom used for the book: “We were talking about failure, and she says at the end of the movie that — she quotes Winston Churchill, who said, “Success is defined by being able to go from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

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