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It is the most talked-about movie in the poker community that hasn’t even been made yet. Molly’s Game has piqued everyone’s curiosity, as it has the potential to be one of the best poker-centric films ever made, complete with popular stars, directorial debut, and top-notch production company.

Molly’s Game is a film based on the memoir of Molly Bloom, who spent years organizing and hosting some of the biggest underground poker games for celebrities and other high rollers. The games were illegal, however, and she was prosecuted in a United States federal court for illegal gambling. Not long after she pleaded guilty and received probation and community service for her crimes, she published a book about the games and consequences.

Much-Anticipated Sorkin Debut

Aaron Sorkin is no stranger to film and television as one of the most highly acclaimed producers in the business, but he has yet to direct a film. In order to make that directorial debut, he adapted Molly’s Game for film and signed on to direct it. The film industry has been abuzz since this announcement, as Sorkin often has the ability to create wildly popular projects.

The Mark Gordon Company and Entertainment One signed on to finance the film, with Gordon teaming up with Amy Pascal of Pascal Pictures to produce it. Leopoldo Gout will be the executive producer. Gordon himself took the poker drama to the Cannes Film Festival in France earlier in 2016 in order to secure a distributor. Several buyers indicated immediate interest in the project, which led to talks with STX Entertainment. Those distribution rights did sell to STX in the United States, and other companies like Ascot Elite Entertainment and Eagle Films are already securing rights for other countries.

Stars Continue to Sign

molly's game idris elba jessica chastainThe first two actors who signed on to starring roles in Molly’s Game were Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba. Chastain will play the lead role of Molly, a former professional skier-turned-entrepreneur who set up the poker games and enticed numerous high rollers from the world of celebrity, sports and business to play. Elba is slated to portray her criminal defense attorney upon her 2013 arrest. Sorkin called those castings “any filmmaker’s dream come true.”

By September, another key role was filled as Michael Cera agreed to join the cast as Player X, a celebrity with a passion for poker who plays in Bloom’s games and develops a unique relationship with her.

The latest word from Hollywood is that Kevin Costner is in talks with The Mark Gordon Company to play Molly’s father in the film. While talks are reportedly still underway, industry resource IMDB already lists Costner as part of the cast.

Costner may be a hot commodity if his upcoming film Hidden Figures receives the Oscar acclaim some say it deserves. Costner could receive an Academy nomination for his role.

The drama Molly’s Game is described by Gordon as “a very human story” about Molly Bloom. He went on to explain: “It’s a character piece, it’s the people in her life, it’s her transformation of going from a young woman who was just about to go to law school who got sucked up into this wonderful, horrible opportunity of running this card game in Los Angeles.”

Filming remains in the pre-production stage and is still scheduled to begin filming in November 2016 in Toronto, Ontario. Unless delays are reported, the movie is set for a 2017 theater release.

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Jennifer Newell

Jennifer has been a freelance writer in the poker industry for a decade. She left a full-time job with the World Poker Tour to tell the stories of poker. She now lives in St. Louis, writes about poker while pursuing other varied interests, and speaks her mind on Twitter… a lot.