Entertainment & Arts

Aaron Sorkin to adapt 'poker madam' memoir Molly's Game

Aaron Sorkin Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Aaron Sorkin's movie credits include Moneyball, The Social Network and A Few Good Men

Oscar-winner Aaron Sorkin says he will adapt the memoirs of "poker madam" Molly Bloom for the big screen.

For years, Bloom organised high stakes poker games for Hollywood's elite at which hundreds of millions of dollars would change hands.

Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio and Pete Sampras were among the stars who played at her invitation-only tables.

She was arrested by the FBI last year in New York and charged with profiting from hosting illegal games there.

Sorkin, who created TV series The West Wing and won an Oscar for writing Facebook drama The Social Network, told BBC Radio 4's Front Row he was fascinated by the 36-year-old's story.

"It's about an extraordinary woman who was headed to law school. She decided to take a year off, spend it in Los Angeles just being young and ended up running the most exclusive high-stakes poker game in the world," he told Kirsty Lang.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Seabiscuit and Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire was said to be a particularly wily poker player

He will adapt Bloom's memoir, Molly's Game, which spills the beans on many of those attending her underground poker nights.

In it, she says Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire was the best of the famous players, but also "the worst tipper" and "the absolute worst loser".

Matt Damon, on the other hand, is described as "one of the nicest, most humble, down-to-earth guys I have ever met".

"He was just genuine," she adds. "There were no airs about him."

It is not known whether any of the Hollywood stars have been approached to play themselves in Sorkin's movie adaptation.

Bloom's career as a poker hostess fell apart when she moved from Los Angeles to Manhattan and started taking a cut of the pot, known as a rake.

While playing poker is legal in New York, organising games for profit is against state law, and Bloom was arrested.

Image copyright Dey Street Books
Image caption In her book, Bloom says she has returned to 'a life that has meaning and substance'

She was among more than 30 people charged with a variety offences relating to a vast illegal gambling and money laundering operation. Money amounting to more than $100m (£65m) was said to be involved.

After her arrest, Bloom's bank accounts were frozen and, in her book's most memorable scene, she was beaten by a thug after refusing to pay protection money.

She faced up to five years in prison, but after entering a plea deal was sentenced to probation and fined $1,000 (£631).

The 36-year-old, whose brother is Olympic skier Jeremy Bloom, also agreed to forfeit $125,000 as part of the agreement.

Sorkin's poker film will follow his long-gestating biopic of late Apple boss Steve Jobs, which is due to start filming next year.

Speaking to Front Row, the writer acknowledged the parallels between Jobs's story and that of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who was the inspiration for The Social Network.

"Steve is an anti-hero, just like Mark Zuckerberg was," he said.

"When I'm writing an anti-hero, I like to write them as if they're making their case to God why they should be allowed into heaven. I can't judge them. I have to be able to identify with them. I've got to locate what it is about them that's like me then bring those things out."

Production on the drama begins in January, with an announcement on who will play Jobs expected shortly.

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