Aaron Sorkin has announced that he will make his directorial debut with a film called Molly’s Game. The Oscar winner is more known for his writing, but after the success of The Social Network and Steve Jobs, he is turning his hand towards directing. Will he have an eye for the moving image as good as his ear for great dialogue?
Molly’s Game will follow famed Poker host of the rich and famous Molly Bloom. Nicknamed the Poker Princess, she grew up on the ski slopes of Colorado. Molly Bloom became the 3rd best Moguls athlete in North America by the time she was 21 but after missing out on the USA Olympic team she decided she needed a change. She moved to Hollywood to work in real estate before undertaking a law degree, her bosses organised poker games led her to try her own. Bloom went on to organize underground poker matches in The Viper Room, Los Angeles. The matches were frequented by not only the rich, but the famous. Celebrities have always shown that they can produce convincing poker faces, but few have been seen at the poker table. With $10,000 being the amount needed to enter the Viper Room it is no surprise the names were as big as she claims. Notable people through Bloom’s door included Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Her games were known for glamorous waitresses and the best dealers. She would take tips from the players as well as their entry fee and earned up to $4m at the peak of her powers. Bloom became used to the expensive lifestyle and used the poker games to fuel her lavish spending. This spending would eventually be her downfall however.
She moved the enterprise to New York, using the city’s businessman as a source for players. A businessman’s loss of $4million of company money in one game led Molly Bloom to testify against him and what followed was a complex embroiling of legal and financial issues. She was also linked to the mafia who wanted to get a cut of her business, and with this brought the eyes of the FBI to her door. It was not long before her greed became too much, as she decided to start taking a ‘rake’, which is a percentage of the pots which is illegal, to guarantee an income. The FBI ‘stinged’ her operation and Bloom received $125,00 dollar fine as well as a years suspended sentence on probation. If nothing else Molly Bloom’s journey should make for a great script. Celebrity involvement, mafia, high stakes poker means Sorkin has plenty to get his teeth into.
Aaron Sorkin is taking a brave leap from the page to moving behind the camera lens. While his talents for the moving image cannot be predicted, it seems to be set up for an excellent Sorkin script at least. A long list of celebrities to imitate on the page and dialogue to create, will bring with it the same excitement and anticipation there was for Steve Jobs.
The poker table affords a great setting and situation for Sorkin’s trademark fast paced dialogue, so expect some basic angles, but some very intensely filmed repartee. Ever since The West Wing Sorkin has worked with Thomas Schlamme who specialised in the ‘walk and talk’ style shots the Presidential show was known for.
Success of shows like the Newsroom and the West wing got Sorkin a large American audience but his film career can give him exposure to a global one. While his directing abilities can only be judged upon when the film is released, there is no doubting that Molly Blooms story will be hefty meal for a hungry writer like Sorkin.