Jessica Chastain on Molly’s Game and Underground Poker2 years ago
Aaron Sorkin's directorial debut, "Molly's Game", is a movie about fighting for what's yours, staying true to your word and, of course, the game of poker.
Based on Molly Bloom's memoir of the same name, the film tells the real life story of Bloom's exclusive underground high stakes poker game. She's arrested by the FBI soon after publishing her memoir and tries to convince Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba) to defend her.
The real life Molly's game was legendary in New York City, it attracted celebrities, Wall Street titans, politicians and, turns out, some unsavory individuals.
Entertainment Weekly talked to Chastain about her experience making this film and her glimpse into the underground poker scene.
She described the atmosphere as a "Man Cave" with a few girls dressed provocatively, massaging the players and serving out snacks. Very different to what you would see on ESPN.
Even after reading Molly Bloom's book, she was not ready for the reality of the size of the pots in these games:
"... the amount of money people were betting — and it was just in someone’s apartment! I was blown away."
What impressed her the most was the way poker players remained calm even after losing huge amounts of money.
"I was having anxiety," she confessed, "and I was trying to mask the anxiety of how much money was on the table. No matter how much you hear about it, it’s still shocking."
However, much like Molly herself, she didn't feel out of her element once she began to engage with the other players (who she described as "very nice gentlemen").
"It was great", Jessica told EW, "They got to tell me about their experiences of being around [Molly]".
Jessica saw in Molly Bloom a fascinating character that used every perceived weakness as a strength. In her own words:
"... what fascinated me about the character — and a lot of this from meeting Molly — is the idea of our modern society and what it means for a woman to find success. What does she have to become for men to allow her to be a leader? Because I think that this is a very interesting time for women in the United States to ask that question."
In her memoir, Molly Bloom goes into detail on how she was, in many ways, underestimated for being an attractive woman in a man's world. Bloom used this to her advantage many times, and the film portrays her as some kind of positive Femme Fatale. She's someone who used the expectations set on her by society to be successful.
"Molly kind of goes into that rabbit hole of trying to become what she believes will give her access and the power to the elusive male dynamic," Jessica Chastain adds, clearly very passionate about her character. "I think the audience would definitely be rooting for Molly."
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