There’s something about cards that continues to capture the imaginations of movie-goers. The innate drama and tension that comes through a high-stakes poker game is undeniable, which is probably why it’s been used as a plot device to great effect on so many occasions.
At the end of the ’90,s there was a surge of poker films that included modern day classics such as Rounders and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. The trend has recently been resuscitated thanks to the popularity of films such as 2015’s Mississippi Grind, starring Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn. Poker continues to be a wildly popular game today with online platforms offering new ways to experience the classic game. Despite its simple rules, poker is just one of those games with enough variations that keep the game feeling fresh for years. That might be why it continues to remain the game of choice for most players, online and otherwise, and is easily one that fans are most familiar with. Just look at Casino Royale, where they swapped the original baccarat for Texas Hold ‘Em.
Now, Hollywood is going to try its hand at poker once again with the latest movie from Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin. The film, Molly’s Game, is based on the real-life memoirs of Molly Bloom. She was a former skier with dreams of becoming an Olympic athlete who went on to run one of the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker games for nearly a decade. The game reportedly brought some of the biggest names in Hollywood to the table including Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio. Bloom’s success in the underground gambling world led to her becoming the target of an FBI investigation and the unraveling of her newfound lifestyle.
A number of prominent stars are attached to the project so far, with more being added by the day. The title character is set to be played by none other than the AcademyAward-nominated Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, Interstellar). The movie will also feature Idris Elba in an unspecified role.
Another player has also joined the game. Michael Cera is reportedly attached to the movie in a role currently shrouded in mystery—his character is only referred to as Player X. What we do know is that that he is a high-rolling celebrity player that begins a relationship with Bloom.
Sorkin, for his part, has written plenty of well-known movies and TV shows including classics such as A Few Good Men and The West Wing. He also won an Oscar for his screenplay for 2010’s The Social Network and was nominated for his work on Moneyball a year later. However, Molly’s Game will be the first time he has stepped behind the camera. The film will be mark Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut after more than twenty years in the industry.
With an all-star cast combined with the news of Sorkin’s debut, Molly’s Game has everything in place to be a big hit. If you throw in a cameo or two from some of the Hollywood A-listers rumored to have participated in the tournaments, this could easily be the biggest gambling film of the new millennium. Given the big screen treatment and the names currently attached to the project, Molly’s Game could do the same thing for poker today that Rounders did for its popularity nearly 20 years ago.