Jessica Chastain’s new movie Molly’s Game would have been very different kind of film had Aaron Sorkin known he was going to direct from his own screenplay.
The Oscar-winning writer behind A Few Good Men, The Social Network, and Moneyball made his directorial debut with the biopic, about real-life high-stakes poker planner Molly Bloom, but he only took on the task at the suggestion of the project’s producers.
“I think I was all we could afford!,” he joked on Today.
“I didn’t know I was gonna direct it when I was writing it, but I turned in the first draft and they (producers) said, ‘We think that you should direct this,’ and I took them up on it.”
However, Sorkin admits he would have given certain physical aspects of Molly’s Game a rethink had he been appointed filmmaker at the time of adapting the story.
“I’m really glad that I didn’t know I was gonna direct it when I was writing it, because I think I would have been much more cautious just with the physicality of the movie,” he explained. “I’m not really known as an action guy, I tend to write people talking in rooms, but there’s a lot of action in this movie.
“Molly was a world class skier, who we see at the beginning of the movie. She comes a hundred yards from making the U.S. Olympic team… she trips over a stick, that sends her both physically and metaphorically off course for the next decade, running the most exclusive high-stakes poker game in the world…”
Molly’s Game, which also stars Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, and Michael Cera, has been a hit with critics, earning Sorkin a Best Screenplay Golden Globe nomination, but the writer/director insists he wouldn’t have been able to pull off the tall task without the help of his cast and crew.
“People wanted to be in this movie. Actors do want to do good work, and so we were really lucky with the cast, the people I got to work with on the crew,” he said. “I’m a first-time director; I never would have made it through without these incredibly talented people around me.”