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Molly's Game: What is the true story behind the film?

The movie starring Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba is streaming on Netflix now

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Francesca Shillcock
Francesca ShillcockSenior Features Writer
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Molly's Game has proved popular since landing on Netflix, with some fans loving being reminded of the hit 2018 film all over again while others are enjoying watching for the first time.

MORE: Molly's Game on Netflix has fans saying the same thing

The movie, directed by Aaron Sorkin, boasts a hit cast including Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba and Jeremy Strong and also has a gripping plot – but did you know it was based on true events? Here's the real-life story of Molly Bloom that inspired the Academy Award-nominated movie...

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Who is Molly Bloom?

In 2014, Molly Bloom wrote a memoir about her life and career titled, Molly's Game, which came to be the blueprint for Aaron Sorkin's screenplay when working on the film. In real life, Molly began her working life wanting to pursue a career as an Olympic skier. She trained in the sport for a number of years, but injured herself while attempting to qualify.

It was this turn of events that led her to begin working in a wholly different environment. After moving to LA in the late 2000s, Molly began working in an underground poker tournament that frequently took place in the basement of famous club The Viper Room.

Soon after in 2007, she began working for herself running her own poker company named Molly Bloom Inc. and hosted tournaments attended by plenty of famous faces including Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

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molly bloom aaron sorkin© Photo: Getty Images

Molly Bloom with film director Aaron Sorkin

What is the story behind the film Molly's Game?

The film Molly's Game focuses on Molly's rise within the poker industry but things started to get complicated when big money became involved. After being accused of not paying sufficient tax in 2010, she was issued with fines. In 2013, Molly was arrested and charged with being part of a money laundering and illegal sports gambling operation.

After battling in court, Molly then pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was sentenced to one year probation and 200 hours of community service. At the hearing, her lawyer, Jim Walden, told the judge that she had been "ordered into the gambling business" by a former boss and that Molly was in severe debt and forfeiting funds as part of the plea.

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idris and jessica molly© Photo: Rex

Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba in Molly's Game

What else is there to know about the true story behind Molly's Game?

Molly Bloom worked alongside the filmmakers and even spent some time with Jessica Chastain before the actress took on the role. The real-life Molly told ET Canada upon the film's release: "I was blown away by her performance by how right it was and how deep and understood I felt by her performance."

Screenplay writer and director Aaron Sorkin told NPR that the glamour and celebrity of the poker games is not actually the film's sole focus. "[It's] a story about decency. Molly was an honest-to-God, real-life movie heroine found in an unlikely place. This was a morality tale of doing the right thing when the wrong thing is easier." 

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