Toronto: Convicted Poker Queen Needed Customs Waiver to Attend 'Molly's Game' Premiere

Courtesy of STXfilms
'Molly's Game'

Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin nabbed an exemption for Molly Bloom, who inspired his poker drama, to attend the film's world premiere at TIFF.

Molly Bloom, who was convicted for running an underground celebrity gambling ring in Hollywood and inspired Aaron Sorkin's directorial debut, Molly's Game, had to get a special 48-hour pass from Canadian authorities to cross the border for the world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday night.

Sorkin, an Oscar-winning screenwriter, had to intervene to get Bloom into Canada for the film's debut at the Elgin Theater. "Because she [Bloom] pled guilty to a federal crime, she's not welcome in Canada," he told a press conference Saturday for Molly's Game.

The film chronicles Bloom, a skier who, after her Olympic dreams are dashed, heads to Los Angeles and becomes a cocktail waitress and eventually rises through the social circuit to became an organizer of underground poker games for the Hollywood elite. But when a Russian mob connection surfaces, the FBI moves in, leading to a criminal trial and conviction.

Bloom was accompanied by her family on Friday night to see the thriller, which stars Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba, for the first time. Sorkin said he offered Bloom a private screening of the film beforehand, but she chose to attend the public screening in Toronto, along with her father.

"She [Bloom] decided and they decided that they wanted to experience it as moviegoers," Sorkin recalled. He only briefly spoke to Bloom and her family following the world premiere.

"After the movie, they were as emotional and infusive as can be. Both Molly and her father, for me, if that's all that had happened, it would have been enough," added Sorkin. The pic focuses on Bloom's relationship with her criminal defense lawyer (Elba), who learns there's much more to her than the tabloids led the world to believe.

Kevin Costner portrays Bloom's father, who believes in tough love. Chastain, who plays Bloom and spoke to her at length to research the role, said she admired the young woman who was forced to play by the rules of powerful men as part of an underground poker ring.

"The more time I spent with her, the more I started to understand the position that she had been forced to be in," the actress explained. Chastain saw Bloom going from competitive skiing, where the fastest athlete wins, to a male-dominated poker ring where she was told how to dress and act.

"Her livelihood is dependent on whether or not they feel she's giving them enough attention. And I had a lot of empathy for her, because of that," said Chastain.

The Toronto International Film Festival runs through Sept. 17.