AFI Fest has selected Jessica Chastain’s “Molly’s Game” to replace Kevin Spacey’s “All the Money in the World” as the closing film for the festival on Nov. 16 at the TCL Chinese Theatre.
AFI Fest made the announcement Sunday — six days after Sony Pictures announced that it was pulling “All the Money in the World” from AFI Fest in the wake of sexual harassment and assault allegations against star Kevin Spacey. Director Ridley Scott is digitally replacing the images of Spacey’s John Paul Getty character with Christopher Plummer for its Dec. 22 release.
“Molly’s Game” is Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut and chronicles the real-life story of a woman who ran an elite underground poker ring.
“Aaron Sorkin is an American master, and we are proud to shine a proper spotlight on his directoral debut, ‘Molly’s Game,’ on AFI Fest’s Closing Night,” said Jacqueline Lyanga, AFI Fest Director. “As Sorkin embarks on this next chapter of his career, his talents are timely for a tribute as he brings his gift of crafting compelling narratives and complex characters to the story of female impresario Molly Bloom.”
STXfilms will release “Molly’s Game” in limited runs on Christmas Day, with a wide release set for Jan. 5. Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Brian d’Arcy James and Chris O’Dowd also star.
Entertaiment One and Mark Gordon Company financed the film. Gordon, Amy Pascal and Matt Jackson are the producers.
The film has generated strong reviews for Chastain’s performance as Molly Bloom since it premiered two months ago at the Toronto International Film Festival, and currently boasts a 94% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Variety’s Peter Debruge said in his Toronto review, “‘Molly’s Game’ delivers one of the screen’s great female parts — a dense, dynamic, compulsively entertaining affair, whose central role makes stunning use of Chastain’s stratospheric talent.”
STX bought the project at the Cannes Film Festival last year for $9 million. Sorkin adapted the script from the 2014 book “Molly’s Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker” by Molly Bloom.