Exclusive Interview: Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba on Molly’s Game
Scott Menzel: What an amazing film. This movie took my breath away. I saw the film at the Toronto International Film Festival at the World Premiere. How did you guys feel walking out onto that stage after the premiere?
Jessica Chastain: Was that the first time you saw the movie?
Idris Elba: Yeah, that was the first time.
Jessica Chastain: He has this great moment at the end of the film, then everyone in the audience, this huge theater, they all clapped, and cheered, and it was exciting.
Idris Elba: Yeah, it was interesting because of our little group of filmmakers, and crew, then Molly Bloom are in these two rows, and everyone was like yeah, and I turned around to Jessica and her husband, I was like holy crap. I didn’t know what to expect… everyone was clapping, but it was a real magical moment because it’s a great film, but it is so poignant. It’s just right.
Jessica Chastain: Yeah. Molly’s dad was crying behind me. Molly was down and she hadn’t seen it before, so there was a lot of stress there for me. Yeah, so I was worried did I do a good job, and then I was thinking is she liking it?
Idris Elba: Yeah.
Scott Menzel: The honor of working with Sorkin, not only just being able to say his words, but to be part of his first feature film. What was it, outside of working with Sorkin, that made you really want to do this?
Jessica Chastain: Oh, outside of working with Sorkin? That, for me, was a huge draw, but I think another draw was that I was shocked by when I first Googled Molly that I immediately judged her. I was like okay, I understand, I understand this woman, and I went to meet her, and I started to do a lot of research, and I realized what it was like being presented to the world; her clothes, her makeup, it was something that Charlie says in the film like you’ve got to dress different, you don’t look like a good version of yourself or whatever he says. She had been created from the industry that she was trying to find success in, so she was just playing by the rules that were set forth for her, and I realized when I read the script and started to do the research on Molly that I was excited to explore that, that pre-judgment I had, and also the pre-judgment that society has.
Idris Elba: I think for my character Charlie Jeffrey is a combination of a few things and some of the Aaron sort of admitted for me … I said I think some of how I feel has come through in Charlie, and the Charlie scenes are sort of a device in a sense that we come back to those scenes as the story progresses, but for me, there was this character that was struggling with an internal relationship with his daughter, single father, having, I feel to some degree, feeling a little bit dejected from the industry.
Not dejected, but he’s a lawyer that went after really bad guys, really detailed criminals and stopped doing that, it was killing his personal life, and then here he was about to take on something that, again, he did, judge this woman, the poke apprentice princess, and then there was his true love, his daughter, who said dad, I think you should read this book. It struck a chord with me. Sometimes things are closer to home than you think and while he’s sitting there in his big office going I don’t know if I could take your case, but actually, it became the one thing in his life that changed his life, changed her life, and actually changed the law in some degree. It’s great.
Scott Menzel: Can you talk real quickly about the chemistry between you two.
Jessica Chastain: We had to work so hard to create it. Yeah, but it was really tough. It was really, I mean, working with this guy, disgusting. Every day I was like ugh. No, I like him. He’s a good actor, a good person. It was so exciting to rehearse together, but also to be onset where it’s like you know that the person is such a talented actor that they’re going to feed your performance in a way.
Idris Elba: Oh, that’s nice.
Jessica Chastain: I just have to react to what’s happening. I hope to work with him again.
Idris Elba: Yeah, me too. I think it’s great when actors meet each other and like each other, but then also when they sort of really go at working together. They create something that challenges themselves and challenges the audience, and I think if I can work with Jessica again, I absolutely will because I think, even if it was a role that was very different from the roles that we have now, I still could trust her work ethic and how I feel when I’m working with her that we’re going to do the best work, so that’s a really lucky place for me.
Scott Menzel: Awesome. Well, thank you and Congratulations again on an amazing film.
Jessica Chastain: Thank you so much.