Will Mollys Game be bigger than Rounders in the gambling movie stakes?

Posted on 11 July 2016
By Carlton Whitfield
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When ‘Rounders’ was released in 1998 it wasn’t exactly a critical success, but the critics were missing something and its reputation among poker players just grew and grew until it became recognised as the cult movie about poker.

As Vanessa Rousso said ‘There have been a lot of movies about poker, but only Rounders really captures the energy and tension in the game. And that’s why it stands as the best poker movie ever made’.

That is until now, because there’s a lot of people out there who are saying that Molly’s Game is set to be bigger than Rounders and will be one of the best gambling films ever made.

So why all the fuss? And boy, is there some fuss. Barely a month since the project came together and Sierra/Affinity have taken the pitch to Cannes and sold out its international territories. What is so attractive about this movie?

Well, when you look at it maybe it is a pretty strong hand. First there’s the source material, it’s based on Molly Bloom’s snappily titled memoir ‘Molly’s Game: from Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street Billionaires Boys’ Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker’.

Molly Bloom, talented young skier, denied chance of Olympic fame by a cruel twist of fate does what any young woman in her situation would do and begins running high stakes poker games for the rich and famous, where the clients play from 10pm until dawn and there’s a quarter of a million dollars in cash on the table.

When this lucrative source of income fell apart in LA, Molly Bloom moved to New York and that’s where it all went a little crazy, culminating in the involvement of the Russian mob and a night time arrest by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons. Well, you can’t be too careful.

Molly was sentenced to a year’s probation and fined $125,000, so you can see why she need to write a book. ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ with an attractive female protagonist, how could it fail? Just to be on the safe side add in the most successful screenwriter of recent times.

Aaron Sorkin’s characteristic snappy fast talking dialogue, honed to perfection in West Wing, became the model for those corridor walk and talk conversations that dominate a certain genre of drama.

His work on The Social Network and Steve Jobs have consolidated his position as the hottest screenplay writer working today. Sorkin has said that he regards Molly Bloom as a movie hero and that his script will not embarrass Hollywood stars and that it will not be about gossip.

This film will be his directorial debut. Do great writers make great directors? We shall see. And the casting? Jessica Chastain, an actor known for her thorough preparation is a really interesting choice for Molly and Idris Elba, the British actor who first came to fame in The Wire is also to star.

So, will all this add up to the best film ever made about poker? I’d stake everything I’ve got on it.