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Could Margot Robbie’s ‘Dangerous Odds’ Be the Next ‘Molly’s Game’?

The ‘I, Tonya’ Oscar nominee continues to prove she’s a fabulously versatile actress, this time for a sports wagering biopic.
By  · Published on February 28th, 2018

The ‘I, Tonya’ Oscar nominee continues to prove she’s a fabulously versatile actress, this time for a sports wagering biopic.

Welcome to the era of Margot Robbie. Despite being a relatively young actress and producer, she has had one of the most satisfying career trajectories in recent years. But even after going from regular cast member in the Australian soap opera Neighbours to starring in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, Robbie still refused to be typecast.

Since her breakout role in the latter, Robbie has starred in both indies (Z for Zachariah) and blockbusters (The Legend of Tarzan) and was actually the best part about Suicide Squad. She is now also an Oscar-nominated actress for I, Tonya, which she produced through her company, LuckyChap. Robbie has taken control of her narrative with smart film choices, and she continues to champion women-led stories with exciting new projects.

Like this one: Deadline announced that Dangerous Odds, initially announced with Robbie in the lead three years ago, has finally found a financier in Bold Films. The actress will star as Marisa Lankester, a former cleaning lady who became an illegal sports betting empire boss. Dangerous Odds will be based on Lankester’s memoir of the same name, which details her key role in the first offshore gambling operation, turning the business of bookmaking into a billion-dollar organization. Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton) will pen Dangerous Odds but there is no set director at this time.

Per a statement from Robbie’s production company:

“We are building LuckyChap off of a passion to tell female-driven stories that feel original, unique, and rebellious in nature. We found all of this in Marisa’s story and couldn’t be more excited to partner with Bold Films and 360 to bring ‘Dangerous Odds’ to the screen.”

An onscreen portrayal of Lankester — who is touted as “a female Scarface” by Bold Films CEO Gary Michael Walters — seems primed to join the likes of Molly Bloom, who was played by Jessica Chastain in Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut Molly’s Game. Both women delve into the criminal underworld in an attempt to better their circumstances and are defined by both their admirable tenacity against institutions of power and their rather glaring imperfections (…they broke the law). These female characters are slow to get their due onscreen, and it’s about time. It’s also wonderful that Robbie is next to take up the mantle after Chastain.

Robbie has proven herself to be fully capable of playing both sympathetic and suspicious in her multi-layered performance as Tonya Harding. I, Tonya features notoriously unreliable narrators, but you can’t help but be intrigued by them individually. The film definitely puts audience perceptions and judgements to the test, with Robbie standing out among the bunch by depicting Harding’s own versions of the truth with such glee and enthusiasm. That being said, she also manages to find the core of understanding and realness in Harding, especially by the end of the film. Robbie’s portrayal is fascinating, lovable, infuriating, and heartwarming. There’s very little doubt that Robbie could transpose such varied qualities in a unique way when playing Lankester too, having played heroes and villains and many things in between at this point.

Dangerous Odds already ticks all the right boxes to pique fan interest, even despite the similarities that the film could have compared to Molly’s Game. I, Tonya could have been a much more mediocre if it had been treated as your typical sports biopic. But clearly Robbie’s input as producer draws talented and beguiling directors and writers to projects. Director Craig Gillespie and writer Steven Rogers brought Tonya Harding to life with enough quirks to keep the film vivacious with a dark edge. Berloff could very well write a great script for Dangerous Odds after absolutely nailing the character-driven hip-hop epic Straight Outta Compton alongside co-writer Jonathan Herman.

The intrigue of Lankester’s story paired with Robbie’s skills as an actress and her box office draw is kind of a match made in cinema heaven. Robbie is setting herself up to be an unstoppable force and we’re happily along for the ride.

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)