Aaron Sorkin talks Molly’s Game and meeting Molly Bloom
Back in late November, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba to discuss their roles in Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, Molly’s Game. Chastain and Elba spoke very highly of the film and working alongside Sorkin. After my interview with Chastain and Elba, I had the great pleasure of talking to Aaron Sorkin about the film. Sorkin, who just so happens to be my favorite screenwriter, was very insightful and interesting to talk with. As many already know, Aaron Sorkin is known for writing television shows and films that are fast-paced, smart, engaging, and highly entertaining. His directorial debut embodies all those qualities so as a long time fan, it was such a remarkable experience to be able to sit down with him and discuss what it was like bringing Molly’s story to life on the big screen.
Scott Menzel: I want to say that it is an absolute honor to be sitting here with you.
Aaron Sorkin: Oh, thank you very much.
Scott Menzel: This movie was incredible.
Aaron Sorkin: Thank you.
Scott Menzel: I saw it at the Toronto International Film Festival. What was it like being in that theater, seeing your directorial debut get that kind of response?
Aaron Sorkin: Unfortunately, it was indescribable. There were two things going on that night. The movie was having its World premiere where about 1,400 to 15,00 people in the Elgin Theater were seeing it at the Toronto International Film Festival. But also, Molly Bloom was seeing it for the first time. I had offered her a chance to set up a private screening for her and her father, and she called me one day and said I’d really like to see it just as an audience member at a movie theater to see what it feels like. I said sure. So, it was very emotional for her, for her family, and for me, it was a thrilling night that I’ll never forget.
Scott Menzel: Awesome. What was it about Molly’s story that actually spoke to you and made you want to do it?
Aaron Sorkin: I was asked as a favor to read her book and to meet her. I enjoyed the book a lot, but I was not expecting much from the person that I was meeting. I was assuming that I was meeting someone who was going to cash in on her brush with celebrity that she had. It was just the opposite. She was, and is, a brilliant woman. Hypercompetent, very funny, very charming, and with a core integrity and sense of character that I find … appealing which is too small a word for it. In this day in age when things like that generally get an eye roll and it’s just earnest and we’re sort of more into irony, she was almost a quixotic figure for me.
What she was was a genuine movie heroine, and I wanted to write a movie that somehow contrasted my expectations of who she was going to be with who she really is, and the fact that in her book, she just told the tip of the iceberg of the story, and in some cases not even the real story because she was protecting a lot of people, and I just had this feeling after I met her. It’s the kind of feeling that you might get after a first date, where you think this is the person I’m going to marry, I know it. I had that feeling after meeting her about writing the movie.
There is a movie here that I’ve been looking for a long time that I want to write, and I’m not able to describe it right now, but I also can’t stop thinking about it and I can’t stop talking about it, so that first meeting with Molly turned into 100 more meetings, and yes, you started asking me about the Toronto Film Festival and the first time an audience saw it. There’s nothing really more gratifying that starting out with that feeling that I was just describing and being able to execute it, having it land and so that the audience has that feeling too.
Scott Menzel: Perfect. Well, that was a great way to end. I love this movie, and I wish you nothing but the best with this. You are hands down one of the best writers in Hollywood.
Aaron Sorkin: That means the world to me coming from you. Thank you.
Scott Menzel: No problem. Hope to see you again very soon.