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Molly’s Game tackles the real-life story of Olympic skier Molly Bloom, played by Jessica Chastain, who ran an exclusive high-stakes poker game before she was discovered by the FBI. The film is based off of Bloom’s memoir and was written and directed by Aaron Sorkin in his directorial debut.
Sorkin is no stranger to adapting real-life stories and with Molly’s Game, the writer followed the same approach in respecting the source material and the source subject. “It’s not a documentary still,” Sorkin said on The Hollywood Reporter’s Writer Roundtable. “It’s still a painting and not a photograph. I use the parts that I need to tell the story that I saw when I first started learning about this. I don’t use the parts I don’t need.”
Joining five other writers — Darren Aronofsky (mother!), Emily V. Gordon (The Big Sick), Fatih Akin (In The Fade), Jordan Peele (Get Out) and Anthony McCarten (Darkest Hour), Sorkin delved into the morals behind reinventing a living person’s story onscreen. “In the case of Molly Bloom, she was very involved. I spent about six months talking to her. I talked to her every day,” Sorkin explained. “I had been cautioning her for a couple of years that there’s nothing that is going to be able to prepare you for this experience — to see someone on screen named Molly Bloom, only it’s Jessica Chastain. Life doesn’t play itself out, as a series of scenes that form a perfect narrative. People don’t speak in dialogue. These are movie things that make it a painting instead of a photograph.”
Bloom and her family took Sorkin’s words to heart and he says they are now big fans of the movie.
When asked how he deals with writer’s block, he admits that when he gets into that head space, he believes that “you’re never going to write again.” Sorkin also mentions the difficulty of seeing the moment in your head but not being able to write it down. Despite of all of these tough moments that all writers experience, Sorkin has never felt like giving up.
When asked which screenplay inspires him the most, Sorkin didn’t hesitate with his answer: Network.
“Paddy Chayefsky filled that screenplay with great theatrical language, [which] is every bit as meaningful as any image in the movie. For a little kid sitting in a movie theater who really loved plays…. I loved the sound of dialogue. It sounded like music to me. [Network] was the first time I think I can remember thinking that you can do that in movies, too. I wasn’t interested in what Sidney Lumet [Network‘s director] was doing. I thought: ‘I want to be the guy who’s writing that.'”
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