Is Player X From Molly’s Game Based on a Real Actor?

In the 2017 film ‘Molly’s Game,’ filmmaker Aaron Sorkin dramatizes the real life of Molly Bloom, who ran Poker Games with high stakes and proportionately high-status players. An Olympic-level skier whose professional career was destroyed by an accident, Molly retained her fighting spirit, applying it to win the game of Poker— not as a Player, but rather as the one facilitating it. Consequently, given the circles Molly ran in, her paths cross with a notable Hollywood Actor, only ever referred to as “Player X,” who remains a regular first at the Cobra Lounge, where the woman works and then her own personally hosted games.

Due to the natural enigma surrounding Michael Cera’s Player X, whom the film never names even in-universe— the character easily holds the audience’s attention and curiosity. For the same reason, people are bound to wonder about the character’s identity and potential basis in a real-life famed actor.

Player X: A Blend of Tobey Maguire and Other A-List Celebrities

Over the years, the depiction of Player X in ‘Molly’s Game’ has garnered wide speculation regarding the character’s identity in relation to real-life Hollywood actors. Thematically, Player X brings a sense of scandal into the narrative with his Hollywoodian presence and allure. The film doesn’t stray in many significant ways from its source material, real-life Molly Bloom’s autobiography from 2014. Consequently, the easiest clues regarding Player X’s real-life counterpart come from Bloom’s book, wherein she mentions a few A-list actors who frequented her Poker Game Nights.

Still, in her book, Molly only named celebrities such as Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio, whose involvement was already made public due to another legal controversy surrounding these Poker Games. “Tobey [Maguire] was the worst tipper, the best player, and the absolute worst loser, but I had to worry about my job security if he lost,” Bloom wrote in her book, with her characterization of the actor matching up with Player X’s eventual on-screen persona.

Likewise, Bloom alleged that she received a gleeful call from Maguire after she lost her weekly games to another actor— an instance that unfolds in the film in an almost mirror image. Alleged participation from other actors, including Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Macaulay Culkin, and the Olsen Twins, has gradually been made public through other sources. As such, we can garner that Cera’s Player X in the film is likely a combination of these actors and the stories that emerged from their participation at Bloom’s Games.

Significantly, Houston Curtis, author of the nonfiction book, ‘Billion Dollar Hollywood Heist,’ claims that he and Maguire were the originators of these games. Furthermore, the man alleged that the former ‘Spider-Man’ actor once loaned him a hefty sum with an impossible deal of principal return plus fifty percent of Curtis’ winning with no downsides. Likewise, both Curtis and Bloom’s account of Maguire’s disinclination toward losing and the lucrative tips that Bloom made from the Games remain harmonious.

Tobey Maguire in Pawn Sacrifice

Such instances draw clear parallels between on-screen Hollywood star Player X— whose superhero movie career is referenced in the film— and Maguire, rendering the latter an undeniable inspiration for the character. In fact, Cera confirmed the same in a 2023 Rolling Stone interview where he said, “I never talked to Tobey [Maguire] about it [Cera’s performance in ‘Molly’s Game’]. I’ve met him once since making the movie, and it was very pleasant. Or was it before making the movie? Maybe it was before. I hope he doesn’t hold it against me that I played him because it was a great part.”

Thus, Tobey Maguire emerges as the evident real-life inspiration behind Player X from ‘Molly’s Game.’ Still, given the film’s pseudo-realistic approach to Bloom’s story— with noticeable changes to individual’s names as well as a few plot divergences— it should be noted that Player X is only a fictionalized version rather than a biographical account. Ultimately, the character remains an amalgamation of the celebrities who participated in Molly Bloom’s Poker Games, with Maguire emerging as a significant inspiration.

Read More: Where Was Molly’s Game Filmed?