Mark Gordon On The Humanity Of ‘Molly’s Game’ & Convincing Aaron Sorkin To Direct – Cannes Studio

Mark Gordon
Mark Mann

Prolific film and television producer Mark Gordon was in Cannes this week talking up Molly’s Game, the Molly Bloom memoir that will be Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut (see video above). The film shoots in November and was expected to be the title that would create the most market sparks here. Indeed, Deadline reported yesterday that STX Entertainment is in exclusive negotiations to pay around $9M for U.S. and China rights. This is the first film project that Gordon is doing under his deal with eOne.

Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba are starring in Bloom’s unlikely life story. The beautiful Olympic-class skier ran 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. Her players included Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans and finally, unbeknownst to her, the Russian mob. Her only ally becomes her criminal defense lawyer, who learns that there’s much more to Molly than the tabloids lead us to believe.

When Gordon came to the Deadline Studio this week, he told me some had questioned whether audiences want to see movies about poker. But, he notes, “It’s a very human story… It’s a character piece, it’s the people in her life, it’s her transformation of going from a young woman who was just about to go to law school who got sucked up into this wonderful, horrible opportunity of running this card game in Los Angeles… This is not a poker movie.” He also is full of praise for Sorkin, with whom he worked recently on Steve Jobs. But, he says, it took him about six months to convince the veteran screenwriter to take the plunge. Check out our chat above.

The busy Gordon didn’t stick around town too long. He was headed back to LA after a few days in Cannes. His Designated Survivor starring Kiefer Sutherland just got a straight-to-series order at ABC and, among many other things, he’s got Lasse Hallstrom’s The Nutcracker And The Four Realms set at Disney while the Kenneth Branagh-directed Murder On The Orient Express is moving along. Sand Castle starring Henry Cavill and Nicholas Hoult is in post.

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