‘Molly’s Game’ inspiration Molly Bloom says she saw famous men abuse power

Molly Bloom

Molly Bloom knows what it’s like to be notorious character; now, for the first time, she gets to simply be a famous one. Molly’s Game, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, dramatizes the true story of Bloom’s rise and fall as the “poker princess” who hosted an underground, semi-legal gambling den for celebrities and billionaires.

The scheme made her independently wealthy, but left her with a drug addiction and a disgust with the powerful men whose money got her there. After she got out, the FBI seized her millions and threatened to jail her unless she released confidential information about her famous clients; determined to hold on to integrity, if nothing else, she refused. (In the film, Idris Elba plays the attorney who stands by her side as the tabloids pile on.)

Coming on the heels of the Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo movement, Molly’s Game has added resonance. Here is the story of a woman who saw the underbelly of elite male Hollywood, and faced jail time for refusing to expose its vulnerabilities to a gossip-hungry public. “You’ve seen what’s on those hard drives — families, lives, careers will be ruined,” Chastain, as Bloom, says in the film.

Similarly, when Bloom wrote a memoir to help her climb out of debt, she only named the men who had been publicly identified in the federal indictment (including Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck, and Tobey Maguire). But speaking to Yahoo Entertainment, Bloom was very clear on where she drew the line. “I wouldn’t have protected Harvey Weinstein,” she said. “As [Sorkin wrote] in the film, if I knew people that were child molesters or harming women or killing people, I would have voluntarily gone into that prosecutor’s office — but I didn’t.”

In a conversation with Yahoo Entertainment, Bloom spoke candidly about seeing the dark side of money and power, as well as the lessons she learned from her ordeal and the inspiring experience of watching Sorkin’s film come to life.
Molly Bloom: It’s super weird. I’m really kind of a behind-the-scenes person. I lived underground, in a sense, for a long time, so the full exposure is definitely strange. But it feels really liberating to just be out there and openly discussing all these things that I really buried, or kept a secret from a lot of people. So that part of it’s great, just being able to own it.

And then being on this side of it, being part of this movie-making process — there’s definitely a different feel to it, because these are passionate artists that want to create great, inspiring work to send out into the world. And that couldn’t be more diametrically opposed to underground poker.

So yeah, I’ve been really inspired by the conviction and the goodness of the people that have been involved in this project, from Aaron to Idris to Jessica, Amy Pascal and Mark Gordon — all these people have fought so hard to tell this story. Because as you can imagine, most people didn’t want to touch it. There were so many different stars orbiting this thing. So while there was a lot of interest to tell the story, it was hard to get it through. And these people really fought so hard for it, and Aaron was so insistent on retaining the humanity of the story. So it’s been a really incredible process to see Hollywood from above ground.