Double Your Money: What are the Celebrity Secrets Behind Aaron Sorkin’s MOLLY’S GAME starring Jessica Chastain?
The film Molly’s Game was released in 2017 and was something of a critical success rather than a Box Office Smash. From an initial budget of $30 million, the movie took a fraction under $60 million in a form of ‘double your money’ scenario that fits neatly with its subject matter.
The plot follows the main character Molly Bloom who, after an unfortunate accident, is forced into an unlikely change of career.
Bloom, portrayed in the film by Jessica Chastain, is a world class skier, pushed by the classic overbearing father onto the path towards winter sports stardom. The plot follows her early upbringing to the point where that path meets an unexpected dead end.
In qualifying for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Bloom suffers an injury that ends her skiing career. From there, she takes a year off in Los Angeles to consider her next move and via a circuitous route, eventually opens an underground poker playing empire.
Celebrities from the world of film, theatre, sports and more are tangled in the web as Molly becomes a target for both the FBI and the Russian Mafia.
Movie reviews suggest this is an underrated plot that should have got more attention at the box office. However, there is plenty of interest from celebrity spotters and conspiracy theorists alike because it’s widely acknowledged that Molly’s Game is, in fact, based on a true story.
Speculation continues as we look for the real Molly Bloom and ask about her wider network of underground poker players, although there are subtle hints dropped throughout the film, aiming to make to make the identities of the celebrities clear, while avoiding a lawsuit. The conversation around the table leaves it open to interpretation, although the dialogue could easily be passed off as bluffing or verbal poker tells.
In the Frame
Mystery is a constant theme throughout the film and even the main character is referred to solely as Player X - played by Michael Cera. Different theories exist relating to his identity but the main name in the frame is that of Tobey Maguire.
Maguire’s role in the real-life story may never be confirmed but a prominent Hollywood producer is said to be behind the theory that the actor is involved in the ring. This is said to be down to a certain move, outlined in detail in the plot, where Player X tricks an opponent into thinking he is beaten.
A close friend of Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio is also said to have been involved. He’s not thought to be a candidate for Player X but instead, his role is claimed to have been as a lure. Along with high profile celebrities, billionaire business people are also implicated in the story and the thought of playing a hand with Leo DiCaprio may have been too much to turn down.
Nice but Naughty
The Olsen twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley, have portrayed something of a wholesome image throughout their career but they, too, seem to have been caught up in this infamous underground poker ring.
Many of the celebrity names are open to conjecture but in the case of the Olsens, it appears that the real life Molly has admitted that they were present at poker nights. The exact nature of their involvement is disputed however with some reports claiming they were dealt in while others suggest they were mere onlookers.
From nice with a mischievous edge we move now to plain naughty as we implicate Rick Salomon. Here we have a professional poker player who made the transition from the tables to the celebrity gossip columns thanks to a series of high-profile relationships.
Pamela Anderson and Shannen Doherty are among those who fell for Salomon’s wiles, but it was an infamous sex tape with Paris Hilton that saw him gain real notoriety. As a man who crosses pro poker play with the cult of celebrity, Rick Salomon is an obvious name to place in this underground network. However, there is real substance to the claim and it’s not just a case of linking together some hypothetical theories as the real Molly Bloom places him there.
Salomon was said to be ‘crass and dirty’ and added a taste of raw heat to the poker nights in Molly’s ring.
Others to have been named include Ben Affleck, Alex Rodriguez and Nelly. As with the other names on this list, there are conflicting reports as to the validity of the claims: The actual Molly Bloom has confirmed some of the conjecture while in other cases, it’s something of a mystery.
Molly’s Game should, perhaps, have wider notoriety and that’s down to a comparative failing at the box office. The screenplay itself didn’t seem to capture filmgoers’ imagination when it was launched at the end of 2017, but its legacy is a fascinating one. We may never know exactly who was there on those long poker nights but fitting together the pieces of the jigsaw is an enduring game for conspiracy theorists and celebrity addicts alike.