Although he admitted to CinemaBlend that Molly's Game was not a poker movie during a recent interview, Aaron Sorkin also noted that authenticity in the poker sequences was still a key to getting the film right. To make that a reality, the freshman director brought in real poker players, and he even sanctioned some real gambling on the set of the film for a half hour each day. During the press junket for Molly's Game, Sorkin explained:
We had several days on the schedule just to get what I call these micro shots of that. A half hour at the end of each of those shooting days, all of the extras in the scenes were professional poker players, a half hour at the end of those days would be group swim. If you want to call it that. Put two cameras on tracks going around and let these guys play poker. I wanted it, I knew that they were competitors so it couldn't be for monopoly money that they were playing, so I tacked a check to the wall and said 'Whoever has the most chips at the end of this is going home with this check.' Turns out you don't need to motivate poker players that much to start wanting to kill each other.
We've heard of actors going method for their roles, but this is something else altogether. To create an atmosphere of realism and authentic competition between the poker players on the set of Molly's Game, the legendary screenwriter pinned a check to the wall and offered it up to the player who could win the most chips in a set amount of time at the end of shooting. The result? Sorkin found himself with a considerable amount of B-roll that captured the cutthroat attitude that many of these real-life poker players bring to the table.
If you want to hear more about Aaron Sorkin's unorthodox methods of fostering competition on the set of Molly's Game, check out a clip from his interview with CinemaBlend below.
Like The Social Network and Steve Jobs, Molly's Game is a film based on a captivating true story. It centers on former Olympic hopeful Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) and her journey into a seedy underworld as she develops a knack for running poker games in Los Angeles and New York City. The film has generated quite a bit of buzz because of its status as Aaron Sorkin's first time directing a feature, and the positive reviews of the film (such as CinemaBlend's own four-star review) make it abundantly clear that Sorkin seems to have nailed the directing game on his first time up to the proverbial plate.
Molly's Game is now in select theaters, and the film will open wide this weekend on January 5. If you are looking for a bit more information on the rest of the films slated to debut this year, then make sure to glance at our 2018 movie premiere guide and fill out your moviegoing calendars accordingly!