The film’s Hollywood underground poker theme, A-list cast, and well-established screenwriter has led many to speculate it could be the second coming of Rounders. The enduringly popular 1998 Matt Damon and Edward Norton film Rounders is credited with helping launch the poker boom.
Based on Molly’s Game book
The film is based on the book Molly’s Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker written by Molly Bloom.
The book is Bloom’s memoir. It tells the story of how the Loveland, Colorado native went from Olympic-level skier to host an exclusive high-stakes underground poker game. Hollywood celebrities, pro athletes, hedge-fund managers, mobsters and billionaire whales were all said to be included.
An excerpt from the book that appeared in the magazine Vanity Fair suggested an actor widely believed to be Tobey Maguire was one of the game’s biggest winners. Maguire was also outed as a horrible tipper who was at odds with Bloom over how much she earned hosting.
Celebrities including Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio were reportedly regular players. Once she moved the game from California to New York, baseball great Alex Rodriguez was allegedly a regular as well.
Screenwriter Sorkin’s directorial debut
American screenwriter Aaron Sorkin was brought in to write the script. Sorkin is best known for his work on the TV show The West Wing, and films including Moneyball and The Social Network. He won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Social Network. Sorkin was also tapped to make his directorial debut with Molly’s Game.
Jessica Chastain is playing Bloom. Chastain has been nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actress for The Help in 2011, and Best Actress for Zero Dark Thirty in 2012.
The A-list cast also includes Idris Elba playing Bloom’s lawyer and Kevin Costner as her father. Michael Cera also makes an appearance and is reportedly playing an amalgam of celebrity players in the game.
Celebrity names changed, identities obscured
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Sorkin said the names of the celebrities in the game were all changed for the film. Outside of Bloom, all the other characters are composites, with identities obscured. Sorkin said this was done in an attempt to honor Bloom’s integrity. In fact, Bloom initially refused to divulge the real identity of the important people who played in the game.
The movie began filming in Toronto, Canada in November 2016.
Molly’s Game will premiere on September 8, 2017, at the Toronto International Film Festival. It will be released in the United States on November 22, 2017.