In The Big Game, Jessica Chastain plays an ambitious woman behind the creation of a vast network of underground poker games. Close-up on the true story behind the film.
The Big Game, released in January 2018, tells the story of a gifted young woman who became the queen of a gigantic underground gaming empire in Hollywood! In 2004, young Molly Bloom, played by Jessica Chastain, landed in Los Angeles. A simple assistant, she supports her boss who brings together poker players every week around clandestine games. Bluntly fired, she decides to start her own circle: the entry bet will be $ 250,000!
Very quickly, Hollywood stars, millionaires and great sportsmen came running. The success is immediate and dizzying. Cornered by the FBI agents determined to bring her down, threatened by the Russian mafia determined to take over her activity, and harassed by celebrities worried that she would betray them, Molly Bloom finds herself caught in the crossfire …
A BEAUTIFUL TRUE STORY
Directed by Aaron Sorkin, screenwriter of The Social Network, The Big Game is one of those films that draw their inspiration from mind-blowing true stories. Here, it is the journey of Molly Bloom, famous for having organized many illegal poker games including the Hollywood jet set.
Born to a psychologist mother and a ski instructor father, the young woman joined the American national ski team at the age of 21. She then studied at the University of Colorado where she majored in political science. In 2003, she went to Los Angeles and became the assistant of a real estate agent who organized private poker games himself. It was at this point that she decided to become her own boss by setting up a network of poker rooms. The latter will become one of the most prestigious in the world, bringing in $ 4 million per year.
THE QUEEN OF CLANDESTIN POKER
These poker games brought together several very wealthy people who love gambling, such as Texan billionaires, New York mafiosi or even well-known actors. Among the latter, there was Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon or Macaulay Culkin.
For the record, the best player was Maguire. The ex Spider-Man even managed the feat of being above Affleck, who had won the California State Championship in 2004.
THE ASCENSION AND THE FALL
While these parties were a phenomenal success, things quickly turned sour for Bloom. The FBI began to take an interest in her case, opening an investigation. Once the evidence was gathered, the organization set up raids on various locations in New York where games were taking place. The feds also arrested several players who, most of the time, pleaded guilty and received heavy fines.
Bloom, meanwhile, also managed to avoid jail by being given a suspended sentence. In his best seller “The Great Game: Memories of a Fallen Poker Queen”, she returned to her career and more particularly her experience in the middle of these clandestine parties.
AARON SORKIN TAKES OVER THE PROJECT
The genesis of The Great Game, which is adapted from his narrative, began before Bloom even realized that the end of his reign had come. While running her illegal gambling den in a Manhattan Plaza suite, she met Leopoldo Gout at a party. The producer, impressed by his background, then introduced Bloom to his publisher who got a publishing contract.
At the end of his trial, Bloom, supported by Gout, circulated the book in Hollywood. Things came to fruition when producer Mark Gordon learned that director Aaron Sorkin was also reading the book. He then contacted him and offered to work on this project.
Finally, note that at the start, Sorkin had some reservations about the idea of adapting Bloom’s book for the big screen. The reason ? The identity of the players who had frequented his circle. “I know some of the people described in the book and I’ve worked with a few of them. And there are others I would like to work with. There are also two friends of mine,” Sorkin said. “I refuse to make a film that peddles gossip about them, or even about anyone for that matter.”
The director then took care to rewrite the secondary characters in order to preserve the anonymity of stars keen on cards.
JESSICA CHASTAIN ON MIC FOR THE BIG GAME