“When I was asked to direct by the producers at first I kind of ‘aw shucks-ed’ it. I thought they were being nice,” confesses Aaron Sorkin about “Molly’s Game” in our recent webcam interview (watch the exclusive video above). The film marks the directorial debut for the Oscar and Emmy winning screenwriter (“The Social Network”, “The West Wing”). He adds that this was a game changer “for a guy who until recently has written people talking in rooms. I hear these movies more than I see them. The music of the language and when it’s crescendo-ing, and when it’s an aria, and when it’s a duet. This was more important to me than the composition of the frame.”
Oscar nominated actress Jessica Chastain (“The Help,” 2011; “Zero Dark Thirty,” 2012) plays the lead role in this adaptation of Molly Bloom’s memoir. Sorkin, who also wrote the film, tells the story of Molly who builds an underground poker game catering to Hollywood stars and Russian mobsters. When targeted by the FBI, she refuses to give up names. Sorkin says, “I met Molly and that was the big thunderclap hearing her real story. In particular, she didn’t realize she had done an extraordinary thing requiring integrity and character. It’s exactly the kind of things I’m drawn to as a writer.”
The film has a special screening at the AFI Fest in Los Angeles on November 12 and has a limited release on Christmas Day. It also stars Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Bill Camp, Jeremy Strong, and Chris O’Dowd.
After three decades of writing for stage and screen, Sorkin explains why he finally tackled the director’s chair: “It’s not that it was the right time. I directed for two reasons. From the moment I met Molly I felt there was a very special story here. Against the backdrop of all that glamour, movie stars and poker, there was a very personal story about an uncommon and unexpected hero. I wanted that to make its way to the screen. Also, speaking of those bold faced Hollywood names, I needed to ensure they were protected; that somehow this wouldn’t be taken over by someone who thought ‘I can make this the buzziest movie of the year by making it about them.’ I had a wonderful experience directing ‘Molly’s Game’ and I’m very proud of the final result. I’d like to direct again.”
Reflecting on what he regards as special in the film, Sorkin promises to audiences “you are going to be surprised when you are uplifted by a movie about a woman who ran an underground poker game.” In the interview we also discuss the earliest days of “The West Wing” at the Emmy Awards, directors such as David Fincher, Danny Boyle, and Bennett Miller, plus working with the late Robert Guillaume on “Sports Night.”
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