Aaron Sorkin (“The Social Network”) recently made his directorial debut with “Molly’s Game,” and the results might bring him back to the Oscars again. The biographical drama stars Jessica Chastain as Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game before becoming an FBI target. The film competes at the Golden Globes for Chastain in Best Drama Actress and Sorkin in Best Screenplay. Gold Derby recently chatted with Sorkin, Chastain, and cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen about their work on the film.
“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 Sorkin. 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.”
Chastain, a two-time Oscar contender for her supporting performance in “The Help” (2011) and her lead role in “Zero Dark Thirty” (2012), was excited to do a movie with a message. “I love working to move the needle in some way in my film choices and looking at society,” she declares. “I think there are many, many layers to this story… He chose to tell this story about a woman in an industry that was ruled by rich, powerful men and how she had to navigate their rules to try and find success when it would change based on their whims… It’s also important to look at this film and its themes of what patriarchy is if you look at Molly from within her family situation, in her industry, and in the government.”
Given Sorkin’s propensity for dialogue, Christensen had to find a way to make people talking in a room interesting to look at. “It is a challenge,” she divulges, “because it isn’t about the visuals, and at the same time the visuals have to support the words.” In the case of “Molly’s Game,” “there’s so much voice-over, and a lot of the images… were Molly observing the game, and we had to create a number of shots to get an energy into it. As Aaron kept saying to me, there’s a musical rhythm to it. So with this one, I had to understand the many cuts I knew had to go into the movie.”
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