Any Idris Elba news is good news, and today brings exceptionally exciting word that the actor, currently filming The Dark Tower, has signed on to star in Molly’s Game, the biopic on which The West Wing writer Aaron Sorkin will make his directorial debut.
Jessica Chastain (Crimson Peak) is already signed on to play Molly Bloom, the daring and beautiful Olympic-class skier who, after having her dreams of competing crushed, left school and wound up running the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons. Some of the many players in her game included business kingpins, Hollywood stars, sports icons, and the Russian mob (though that last benefactor operated so discreetly that Bloom wasn’t even aware of its presence).
Elba is taking on the role of Bloom’s criminal defense lawyer, who sees past the illusions she puts on and knows that there’s more to her than meets the eye. No word yet on a production schedule, but a lot of that will largely hinge on how quickly it sells at the Cannes market, where Sorkin plans to shop it around to a variety of potential buyers for U.S. distribution – Sony Pictures, curiously enough, bowed out shortly before Elba’s casting.
“Working with Aaron once again has been truly rewarding, and we’re thrilled to have Jessica and Idris, two of the most talented actors in film today, coming on board,” said Steve Jobs producer Mark Gordon, who optioned the book source material back in 2014. “We have a best in class team in place to bring Molly Bloom’s riveting story to audiences.”
Added Sorkin: “The casting of Jessica and Idris in the two lead roles is any filmmaker’s dream come true. They’re two of the greatest actors of their generation, paired for the first time, and their chemistry will be electric.”
It’s tremendously exciting to see Chastain and Elba unite for something like Molly’s Game, which already sounds like a potential prestige pic based both on the story and those involved – and with a budget around $30 million, any studio would be daft not to snap it up.