The world can probably expect more political drama from Aaron Sorkin in the near future. The man commonly regarded as possibly the greatest living screenwriter is best known for his work in this genre, including the film The American President and the shows The West Wing and The Newsroom. In an emotional letter to his daughter following the election of Donald Trump as the 45th U.S. president, Sorkin seemed to indicate that he wasn’t going to be quiet during the Trump administration.
Before he gets going on whatever his next politics-related venture may be, Sorkin has an intriguing 2017 movie on his hands. He’s written and will direct Molly’s Game, an adaptation of an autobiographical account by a woman who ran a high-stakes poker ring. It’s a thrilling concept, not just because of Sorkin’s involvement, but because Molly Bloom (who wrote the original memoir) became entangled with numerous A-list celebrities, and was ultimately investigated by the FBI. It seems like it’s destined to be the best poker movie in more than a decade. Here are a few suggestions for how it can meet that expectation.
1. Get The Cameos
Those who haven’t actually read Molly Bloom’s memoir still tend to know that that a host of A-list celebrities were involved in a number of legally questionable high-stakes poker games. According to one article, those celebrities included everyone from Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio to Alex Rodriguez. So far there’s no word as to whether any of these figures might be up for playing themselves in small scenes within Sorkin’s movie, but it would be awesome if the director could rope a few of them in. Even a glimpse of DiCaprio walking through a dark hall toward a back room game would be a thrill. Seeing all of the major actors and stars crowded around a table together would be a different kind of excitement altogether, though it’s probably unlikely.
2. Give Costner His Due
This is more of a personal plug, but let’s all just admit that Kevin Costner makes movies better. Case in point, Hidden Figures just won the SAG award for Best Picture and is rightly viewed as being all about the three female leads who represented black women who played a key role behind the scenes in NASA. But as wonderful as those three leads are (they really are terrific), Costner was used as far more than a throwaway supporting actor, and seemed to make everyone around him better. Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba seem to be the stars of this movie, and any cameos would draw a lot of attention, but let’s hope for a big Costner role.
3. Provide Modern Context
This is a movie about a poker phenomenon that already happened, but it would be interesting to see Sorkin use some kind of mechanism (perhaps chunks of the movie are flashbacks from the present day) to provide a modern context. There has yet to be a good poker movie made about internet casino gaming, despite its massive worldwide popularity. There are countless professional platforms online, millions of players, and unlimited sums of money changing hands. In fact, even the format of the games has shifted. The demand for real, interactive poker gaming has led to the birth of live dealer games, and the environments are more active and engaging than ever. This isn’t the point of Sorkin’s story, but it would be interesting to fit some of these changes in, as an homage to the modern game.
4. Form A Team
If there’s one common thread in Sorkin’s greatest projects, it’s that he’s absolutely outstanding at forming a team dynamic among his characters. This was done most famously in The West Wing, but it’s also a very strong aspect of The Newsroom. Even in Moneyball, the duo of Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill plays so well that you can’t help but want to be a part of it. Sorkin is at his best when a team dynamic is at play, and whether he does it through Bloom and her associates or the FBI team investigating the poker rings, he ought to play to this strength again in Molly’s Game.
5. Keep It Small
Rumor has it this film was bought for just $9 million by STX Entertainment. This is a nice reminder that just because the film is about high rollers, there’s no need for a poker movie to involve any sort of big budget tricks. Sorkin can probably be trusted in this regard, but just as a final note it would be great to him keep this movie small and focus on the characters, the game, and the investigation.