Actor Jessica Chastain Rumored to Be Front-Runner for Sorkin Poker Film Based on “Molly’s Game”



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Although it has been rumored to be one of his next big projects in Hollywood, screenwriter/playwright and producer Aaron Sorkin – one of the most prolific writers in Tinseltown who has seen his award-winning work on both television and the silver screen – has reportedly chosen his lead for his next big film. That film is Molly’s Game (it allegedly has a longer title, but let’s keep it simple here), based on the expose written by former “Poker Princess” Molly Bloom, and the actor supposedly set to fill her stilettos is two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain.

Chastain is best known for her work in the Academy Award winning film Zero Dark Thirty, in which she played a CIA intelligence analyst who hunts down terrorist Osama bin Laden over the span of a decade. That performance earned Chastain her second Oscar nomination (she would lose to Meryl Streep), following up on her first nomination for Best Supporting Actress in 2011 for her work in The Help (Chastain would be defeated by Melissa Leo). She has also starred in films like Interstellar, A Most Violent Year, Crimson Peak, and The Martian.

To say that Sorkin’s body of work is also outstanding would be an extreme understatement. He was the playwright who penned the play and movie A Few Good Men and parlayed that success into a long career in theater, television and cinema. He was the screenwriter for Charlie Wilson’s War, The Social Network, and Moneyball, while also taking to television for some of the most critically acclaimed television series’ of our time. Sorkin was the creator and writer of Sports Night, The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and The Newsroom, all of which have found outstanding success on a variety of television networks. In 2015, prior to moving on to the potential Bloom film, Sorkin was the screenwriter for the film Steve Jobs (the good one with Michael Fassbender, not the crappy one with Ashton Kutcher).

It is precisely because of this success that Sorkin has the option to choose what projects he wants to work on and, as the world learned during the Sony e-mail hacks, it hasn’t necessarily been pretty. In 2014, the Sony e-mail hacks released a trove of information to the general public, including information on actors’ salaries and the inner workings of the different studios around Hollywood. Sorkin’s name – and, by extension, Bloom’s – came up in a rather ugly e-mail that resulted in a studio head losing their job.

Then-Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman Amy Pascal, in a blistering e-mail to an underling, discussed projects that Sorkin wanted to work on, one of which was a screen adaptation of Bloom’s book. In her e-mail, Pascal accused Sorkin of being “broke” and that the company had already taken care of him (“paid his insane fee”) on another film that he decided to pass on to pick up Bloom’s book. Pascal also insinuated that Sorkin and Bloom were involved in a sexual relationship, thus Sorkin’s interest in writing the screenplay for what Pascal called “the poker movie.”

Whether it is actually a poker movie or not is the big question. Bloom was the organizer and hostess for some of the biggest cash games on both coasts in the mid-2000s, serving Hollywood A-list actors and directors, New York businessmen and hedge fund managers and the ilk. The job saw Bloom rise from the shadows of her brother, former Olympian Jeremy Bloom, to pulling in sometimes six figures nightly, simply for organizing poker games for wealthy people.

It also put her at tremendous risk, especially after moving her game from the West Coast to the East Coast. She was violently robbed and beaten just prior to her arrest on federal gambling charges, which she pled guilty to in 2013 and received a light fine and probation. The stories in her book – if brought to light in a movie – would cast some prominent Hollywood figures in a highly negative light (that is, if the studios allowed Sorkin to actually use the names that Bloom dropped).

If it is true, the choice of Chastain is an intriguing one in that the red-headed actor doesn’t look anything like the raven-headed Bloom (at 38, however, they are roughly the same age). Chastain also has a pretty full dance card for 2016, with two films in post-production, two in pre-production (including a rumored role that could nab her an Oscar as country music legend Tammy Wynette) and one movie filming (the political thriller Miss Sloane). There is also currently no word on if the script has been completed by Sorkin, a studio has picked up the option for the film or when it would begin filming.

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