Aaron Sorkin is lauded as one of the best screenwriters of our time whose films have generated more than $350 million dollar at the box office. A seasoned writer of twenty five years penning classics such as The West Wing, and A Few Good Men, it comes as no surprise that Sorkin would get the urge to direct. At one point he was attached to direct The Social Network until David Fincher came along, and Sorkin ended up taking home as Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Seven years later he was sent Molly Bloom’s autobiography, Molly’s Game, and became fascinated with the former high stakes poker queen after meeting with her.
The film adaptation chronicles Molly Bloom’s journey from Olympic skier to running a high stakes poker game in both Los Angeles, and New York. Apparently, A-List celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck, and Tobey Maguire were frequent players. However, things get ugly fast as soon as the Russian mob gets involved.
Producers Mark Gordon and Amy Pascal ran down a list of possible directors with Sorkin, but offered him another chance to take the director’s chair. He took it. With a tight turnaround from casting to wrapping, Aaron Sorkin’s feature film debuts on Christmas Day. Screen Rant sat down with the first time director and touched base on which director he has learned from the most, and about his quickfire dialogue.
SR: This is your first film here and you've worked with a lot of other different directors. Did you call any of them for advice?
Aaron Sorkin: All of them!
SR: All of them?
Aaron Sorkin: Oh yeah. Well, first I called them when I was asked to direct the movie and then began seriously considering taking the producers up on that. I did call the directors that I've worked with. They were all very encouraging, very supportive. They all said you're ready to do this, I know you think you're not, but you are. And I did get great advice from them.
SR: Who gave you the best advice?
Aaron Sorkin: Well, I don't want to say who gave the best. David Fincher, I did The Social Network with was terrific both, reading the script and looking at an early cut of the movie. Warren Beatty, he was terrific as well. So I'm grateful to the both of them.
SR: Now, there any truth to the fact that you were supposed to direct The Social Network and ended up not directing, and then you're relieved?
Aaron Sorkin: Yeah. It is true. I've written The Social Network and Amy Pascal, who at the time was running Sony, and is now one of the producers of Molly's Game and Scott Rudin the producer of The Social Network, they decided that I should direct The Social Network. And that... I wasn't jumping for joy. I was scared to do it and was hoping somebody would save me. I was glad when we all decided, you know what, let's send the script to David Fincher and when David passes all I'll direct the movie, and David didn't. He was sent the script. Three hours later I got an email saying, hey Aaron, it's David, I'm going to direct The Social Network. Can I come over? I was relieved, not just because I was kind of off the hook but because Dave is one of the greatest filmmakers that we have, and I think that The Social Network that he and I did together is the best possible version of that movie.
SR: Nice. Now, there are a lot of actors who say that that your dialogue, and the way that it's supposed to be spoken, the pace, they have a lot of trouble with. Which actor do you think has had the most trouble because you've been on sets?
Aaron Sorkin: I wouldn't want to name actors that's had trouble with it. I can tell you one actor that had, two actors that had no trouble with it at all. Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba, who had every day of the shoot, incredibly challenging scenes. Mountains to climb. Seven, eight, nine-page scenes. A very dense dialogue, all of which took place in a room roughly this size with this amount of equipment around them. They are hardworking brilliant actors who in the hands of lesser talents and in the hands of people who were not as hardworking and dedicated as the two of them those scenes would have failed.
- Molly's Game (2017) release date: Dec 25, 2017