Idris Elba is a busy man. Although talk of him becoming James Bond has subsided down in recent months (Tom Hardy is now the hot tip to become the next 007), the British beefcake is still plugging away at various projects.
For those that like a documentary with some bite, Elba’s new series Fighter recently aired on the Discovery Channel. Charting his rise from novice fighter to a professional-level kickboxing bout, the documentary certainly shows (see video below) that Elba is tough enough to assume the role of Mr. Bond.
Of course, becoming the world’s greatest secret agent isn’t all about brawn. To become Bond you need brains, which is handy because Elba is currently putting his mental powers to the test with director Aaron Sorkin.
Sorkin to Bring Poker to the Masses
Sorkin is best known for his screenwriting skills, having written the storylines for movies such as A Few Good Men (1992), The Social Network (2010) and Steve Jobs (2015), but now he’s turning his hand to poker. After winning the rights to turn Molly Bloom’s tell-all biography into a movie, Sorkin has been working hard to make his directorial debut a hit.
Although poker-based movies have struggled in the past (e.g. Lucky You), Sorkin has the benefit of an intriguing storyline, an all-star cast and, importantly, the zeitgeist on his side. Online poker has been kicking around since the turn of the millennium, but over the last 12 months it’s gradually crept into the minds of the masses.
Major online poker operators are now turning their attention away from professionals in favor of casual players. Essentially trying to inject a level of entertainment back into the game, these sites are now working to show that competition is just as important as the money at stake. For example, 888poker’s The Game is an online learning tool designed to breakdown the nuances of poker.
Starting from the bottom and working its way through the different variants, hand rankings and best ways to play, the interactive game is the perfect entry point for newbies. Building on this increased access for casual players, more celebrities are starting to jump on the poker bandwagon and that’s where Molly’s Game comes in.
Poker Becoming a Game for Everyone
Essentially a story of how Bloom swapped a failed career as an Olympic skier to organize some of Hollywood’s richest home games, the biopic is a great way for recent poker converts to see the entertaining aspects of the game.
Jessica Chastain will be playing Bloom alongside Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera and Chris O’Dowd among others. Naturally, among the stories of poker games featuring Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Ed Norton, Molly’s Game will have some added drama in the form of an FBI investigation into the protagonist. However, ever before you sink your teeth into this subplot, the dynamics of the poker world are on hand to get you thinking.
Indeed, this is where someone like Elba will be able to show a different side to his personality. We all know he can kick ass like Bond, but can he analyze a situation and gain the mental edge like a poker player? Filming for the movie began towards the end of 2016 and in recent weeks the Beaver Valley Ski Club has been used for the recap of Bloom’s life before poker.
The release date for Molly’s Game is tentatively set as 2017, which should chime well with the current movement of online poker from a niche industry to a mainstream activity. Of course, when the filming is done and Elba is back on the “available” list, it’s likely we’ll see his name re-enter the Bond discussion even if he’s not quite the poker player 007 is.