While Molly’s Game is the compelling true story of Molly Bloom, Player X is an intriguing character with a shocking real-life inspiration. Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut tells the true story of Molly Bloom, who orchestrated a multi-million dollar underground poker game with many celebrities sitting at her table. Player X (Michael Cera) is based on one of those actors. While the identity of Player X isn’t revealed in Molly’s Game, Molly Bloom’s book names several Hollywood stars who Michael Cera could have been playing.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon are just a few of the A-list names that played in Molly Bloom’s poker games. However, the majority of speculation seems to point to Tobey Maguire being Player X. While this is entirely speculative, if it’s true then Molly’s Game doesn’t paint the Spider-Man star in a flattering light. Cera’s character is seen largely as the villain of the movie, taking joy in destroying his opponents at the card table and taking Molly’s game from her. However, Maguire is far from the only possible Player X. Here’s the actor who Player X could be based on, and how true to life Molly’s Game is.
Molly’s Game: Tobey Maguire Is Likely The Real-Life Player X
While unconfirmed, the speculation that Tobey Maguire is Player X isn’t unfounded. Maguire’s name comes up frequently in Bloom’s memoir, and not always positively. He was an avid player and introduced many new players to the table originally run by Molly’s former boss, who in the film goes by Dean Keith — a real estate agent who hires her to be his assistant in his office and at the poker game. The Molly’s Game movie also implies that Player X had a lot of power and brought heavy hitters in. In addition, when Molly (Jessica Chastain) takes over the game, it is his approval she needs to pull off the coup successfully. In the Molly’s Game book, she claims that Maguire was integral to setting up her table and even lent her his own personal card shuffling machine to speed up hands.
This detail wasn’t included in Molly’s Game, nor was the fact Maguire allegedly asked her to bark like a seal to get a $1000 chip. However, it does show that Player X stole Molly’s game, something the real Molly accused Maguire of. On the page, Bloom claims the actor started getting upset about the money she was making from tips, $3000 on her first night alone. So, he ended up telling his celeb pals to host their own game instead. In the Aaron Sorkin movie, Player X steals her game after Molly calls him out for running another player at her table. “You’re so f*cked,” he tells her over the phone while she’s going to the empty hotel room that should have hosted her weekly game.
Molly’s Game: Other Movie Stars Linked to Molly Bloom
Aaron Sorkin says Molly’s Game‘s Player X isn’t based on one actor. Michael Cera’s character is an amalgamation of several celebrities mentioned by Bloom. It’s unclear which specific celebrities Sorkin drew on for Player X, but other big stars known to frequent Molly’s poker games include Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, the Olsen Twins, and Macaulay Culkin, to name a few.
Outside of actors, Molly’s games were sometimes attended by professional athletes and other rich socialites. However, there seems to be another nod to Player X being Tobey specifically; one of the insults Molly directs at Player X is calling him a “green-screen sh*t,” a possible nod to Maguire’s Spider-Man movies with frequent uses of green screen. The actor upon whom Player X is allegedly based has yet to comment publicly about Molly’s Game.
How True To The Book Is Molly’s Game?
Molly’s Game makes many changes to the Molly Bloom novel beyond Player X. A key difference is Molly’s lawyer, Charlie Jaffey. Jeffey is a fictional character that Aaron Sorkin designed specifically for the movie. He felt that portraying another real person on film would be too restrictive for the narrative. However, her real lawyer (Jim Walden) really did vouch for the $250,000 that she didn’t possess. The cast of Idris Elba in the movie as Jaffey makes up for the inaccuracies. Another aspect that changed in the narrative was the Cobra Lounge. The real poker games took place in the Viper Room, a club partially owned by Johnny Depp, located on the Sunset Strip.
Some of the more disquieting events in Molly’s Game, even the actor Player X’s behavior, are true to the book in the Aaron Sorkin movie. As per the movie, Molly Bloom recounts in her book how Maguire reputedly called her to tell her that she “lost the game.” Furthermore, how she started the poker game and her resulting addiction were factual. After getting caught by the FBI, Molly’s mother genuinely put up her house to help pay for her daughter’s legal battles.
In 2014, Molly Bloom was charged and sentenced to one-year probation and 200 hours of community service for a felony gambling conviction (via The Hollywood Reporter). With celebrities like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, it’s perhaps no surprise that the financial stakes of the poker games in Molly’s Game was astounding — just as it was in real life if Bloom’s memoirs are to be believed. The most that Molly ever saw someone lose was $100 million, which was paid in full the next day.
How Aaron Sorkin Brought Player X To Life
Molly Bloom keeps Player X’s true identity a secret. While it’s a not-uncommonly held belief that Tobey Maguire is Player X, there’s no factual basis for this at all. What is evident is that writer-director Aaron Sorkin wasn’t looking at just one individual but an entire culture of poker players when crafting Player X. Just as the true story of The Social Network differs from Sorkin’s screenplay — he added, embellished, and amalgamated details when creating Player X for Molly’s Game, and his process is a fascinating one.
According to Sorkin (via Script Mag), these high rollers with their own wealth were not just in these games for the money. He explains “Sure, they liked going home with more money in their pockets than they came there with, but what they really liked, was beating other people.” Sorkin points to Player X’s line – “I don’t like beating other people, I like destroying lives” — as encompassing this disturbing hobby.
While the vast sums at play boggle the minds of most viewers, for the players it was all about the game itself, and their passion would at times lead to behavior that borders on sociopathic. It’s this trait across several individuals Sorkin drew on when creating Player X. Even if Michael Cera’s character in Molly’s Game represents one individual in the narrative, Player X’s personality doesn’t seem to be based on a singular actor or celebrity.