January 04, 2018

Technicolor Goes All-In for Sorkin’s High-Stakes Molly’s Game

Technicolor’s long industry experience and leadership proves crucial to meeting the demands of the tight schedule and rapid-fire dialogue of Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut. 

  • With principal photography in Canada, Technicolor Toronto was enlisted to handle dailies and other work, including VFX support with MR. X.
  • Sound Re-recording Mixer Scott Millan and team brought nuance to Sorkin’s fast-paced banter.
  • Technicolor’s Mike Hatzer completed the color grading, making this his third film with cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen (The Girl on the Train; Fences).

Molly’s Game stars Jessica Chastain as Molly Bloom, known as the “poker princess” for organizing – and raising the stakes on – exclusive underground poker games for the Hollywood elite and other A-listers. Technicolor was involved throughout the Aaron Sorkin project, first handling dailies, sound, and picture (with DI Producer Darcy Arthurs) from Technicolor Toronto. When final color grading and sound finishing moved to Technicolor Hollywood, there was seamless interaction both technically and creatively between the two locales.

Already looking at a condensed timeline and budget, first-time director Sorkin upped the game even more for post supervisor Nancy Kirhoffer and the picture and sound teams at Technicolor because of the film’s frenetic pace and snappy dialog – a Sorkin trademark. “Aaron Sorkin has proven himself a master storyteller,” said Scott Millan, part of the three-man team from Technicolor – including Gregg Rudloff and Drew Webster – who finished the sound mix for the film. “His structural approach is multi-layered storytelling. His ear for dialogue is very acute. He could identify the proper cadence of the actors and the basic rhythm of the game.”

This proved to be a very unique skill set that Sorkin brought to the sound work. “His notes were principally about nuance,” continued Millan. “There wasn’t a lot of ADR. There simply wasn’t going to be time. We were faced with a hard stop because of the Toronto premiere date.” (Toronto International Film Festival, where Molly’s Game made a smash debut).

Also under tight deadline was Technicolor Supervising Colorist Mike Hatzer, who handled the final color grading – picture finishing his third film with Danish cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen. Her style gave Hatzer control over character and set design details, and he crafted a number of distinct looks for the film, each one in support of the story and Molly's ascent to the world’s most high-stakes poker game.

Ultimately, the cinematography and grading worked together to focus the viewer on important plot points during intense passages of rapid-fire dialogue. Principle photography was also seamlessly integrated with visual effects work – which was handled by MR. X and supported by Technicolor Toronto.

Put on your best poker face and watch the official trailer for Molly’s Game.