Jessica Chastain is drawing raves for her performance in the new film Molly's Game, and the 40-year-old actor is widely expected to pick up her third Academy Award nomination for the role. In the film, she portrays Molly Bloom, the so-called "Poker Princess" who ran notorious high-stakes underground poker games in Los Angeles and New York in the early 2000s that attracted numerous celebrities and moguls. But what does the real Molly Bloom think of Molly's Game? Is she a fan of Chastain's portrayal, or does she find the movie too harsh a depiction of her?
You can count Bloom among the film's fans. The movie was written and directed by Aaron Sorkin (it's the screenwriting legend's directorial debut), but it was Bloom herself who sought Sorkin out and pitched the film to him before participating in constant research meetings with the writer and producers over six months, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Hilary Lewis. Her initial idea was to adapt her memoir, Molly's Game, to film, but Sorkin wanted to dig deeper and ended up telling an even more personal story than Bloom had anticipated, including aspects of her life — such as her childhood, her athletic career, her relationship with her father, and her battle with drug addiction — that she didn't really delve into in the memoir.
"I was really happy that Aaron did discuss the drug use, because that was a big part of it, and it was also liberating for me on some level," Bloom told Vulture's Emily Yoshida in a recent interview.
In addition to her apparently enthusiastic acceptance of the aspects of her story that Sorkin chose to focus on in the film, Bloom was also particularly impressed by Chastain's portrayal of her. "She blew my mind," Bloom told Vulture of Chastain's performance. "We didn’t hang out that much, but in the time we did, I was like, 'I need to be on my best behavior and give her as much as I can.' But she’s so real and disarming that I felt like I was hanging out with a friend. I lost sight that she was even doing her work or processing it. It was just a few times, a few phone calls, and she just went away. I was like, 'Wait, doesn’t she need more?' But when I saw her on the screen I was just floored! She’s so brilliant."
Bloom has also praised the film's timing, with its release coming at the dawn of the #MeToo movement. Although the movie does not deal directly with sexual harassment as a main plot point, and Bloom does not claim to have been a victim of sexual assault, the film does feature a female protagonist who is constantly surrounded by powerful men who try to bully and intimidate her.
"There's definitely conversations [in the film] about patriarchy, there's conversations about people abusing power," Bloom told The Hollywood Reporter. "I did not run into anything like these horrific [sexual misconduct] stories that we are hearing about. My role in this game was very different. I was the banker, and I controlled the lists. I think when I made that transition from being a cocktail waitress in this game to running the list to bankrolling the games, I think my position was just personally very different. My heart goes out to [the women speaking out about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault]. Things are changing."
Molly's Game is already a hit with a number of film critics, but it seems as if the movie's most enthusiastic backer might just be its subject, Bloom herself.