Aaron Sorkin on di­rect­ing: ‘I had the time of my life’

China Daily - - PEOPLE -

TORONTO — Aaron Sorkin was sit­ting in a restau­rant with pro­duc­ers Amy Pas­cal and Mark Gor­don, tick­ing off the names of top Hol­ly­wood di­rec­tors who might be a good fit for the script Sorkin had just fin­ished: Molly’s Game, a drama about the so-called “poker princess” Molly Bloom.

“When we got to the end, Mark and Amy said, ‘But we think you should di­rect it,’” Sorkin re­called in an in­ter­view. “And I grabbed at the chance.”

Molly’s Game pre­miered last night at the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val where it was im­me­di­ately greeted with rave re­views, awards fore­casts for star Jes­sica Chas­tain and a gen­eral re­ac­tion of: Sorkin, di­rec­tor, is a riproar­ing suc­cess. He had come close be­fore. “I was go­ing to di­rect The So­cial Net­work. Amy Pas­cal, Scott Rudin and I said, ‘You know what, let’s just give it to David Fincher and once he’s passes, I’ll di­rect it,’” said Sorkin. “I’ve never been so lucky to not di­rect some­thing in my life.”

Fate in­ter­vened, Sorkin and Fincher cre­ated one of the most cel­e­brated films of the decade, and Sorkin’s chance to take the di­rec­tor’s chair had to wait. Danny Boyle took the reins of Sorkin’s next script, the Ap­ple co-founder biopic “Steve Jobs.”

But the cards came up dif­fer­ent for Sorkin on Molly’s Game, which STX En­ter­tain­ment will re­lease Nov. 22. The story is a rich one — full of Sorkin’s whip-smart di­a­logue — that Sorkin says he be­came ob­sessed with telling. “At some point, you have to fall in love,” he said. “With this, it was right away.”

The film is partly based on Bloom’s mem­oir about run­ning a high-stakes poker game in Los An­ge­les where bold­faced names like Leonardo Di­Caprio, Tobey Maguire and Ben Af­fleck were reg­u­lars. Bloom was her­self a for­mer elite freestyle skier whose Olympic chances were dra­mat­i­cally de­railed by an in­jury. She was later ar­rested as part of a larger mafia in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Im­pressed by Bloom’s in­tel­lect, sense of hu­mor and char­ac­ter, Sorkin could see Bloom was more in­ter­est­ing than her tabloid per­sona.

“She struck me as a unique movie hero­ine,” he says.

Sorkin, the 56-year-old writer of Money­ball, Char­lie Wil­son’s War and A Few Good Men, didn’t pen the screen­play ex­pect­ing to di­rect.

“But once I did write it, I just had this very spe­cific no­tion of what it should feel like, what it should look like, what it should be like. I wasn’t sure that I was go­ing to be able to ar­tic­u­late it to a di­rec­tor,” said Sorkin. “I’m not done want­ing to work with great di­rec­tors. On this movie, I just didn’t want to lit­i­gate my choices.”

The ex­pe­ri­ence, he says, was one of the most re­ward­ing of his ca­reer.

“I had the time of my life,” he says. “I loved every minute of it.”

PHILLIP FARAONE / GETTY IMAGES / AFP

Aaron Sorkin and Jes­sica Chas­tain at­tend Molly’s Game news con­fer­ence dur­ing 2017 Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, Canada.

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