Awkwafina to Star in Movie About Kelly Sun and Poker Champ Phil Ivey

Awkwafina is preparing to star in her next feature film, which will focus on professional poker players. She will be portraying the most successful female gambler in modern history, Cheung Yin "Kelly" Sun, in The Baccarat Machine. This was accomplished through the use of edge sorting, which is recognizing the use of playing cards in which the edges on either side are unevenly cut by fractions of an inch.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film is based upon the article "The Baccarat Machine," which was written by Michael Kaplan. The piece originally appeared in Cigar Aficionado and is being adapted by scriptwriter Andy Bellin.

The Baccarat Machine "tells the true story of Sun, a young Chinese woman who turns a painstakingly developed talent and obsession for payback into beating the system at their own game."

According to the report, major casinos conspired against Sun in an attempt to bar her from the properties. However, she partnered with the international "King of Poker, Phil Ivey, in order to take down the system. This resulted in one of the most "ingenious legal gambling runs ever documented."

The role of Ivey has not been cast, per reports, nor has the project found its director. Variety reports that the script is currently being written and that the producers are discussing the project with potential directors. Additional information will be provided "shortly." The project is being financed and produced by SK Global along with Jeffrey Sharp of Sharp Independent Pictures.

"We can't think of a better way to start this project than by announcing that our friend Awkwafina has come on board," SK Global co-CEO John Penotti said in a press release. "She is uniquely equipped to bring Kelly to life onscreen and will infuse the role with genuine humor and humanity. Along with our partners at Sharp, we're thrilled to bring this unbelievable story to the screen."

Awkwafina has been featured in an increasing number of projects in recent years. She starred alongside Sandra Bullock in Ocean's 8 and then appeared in Crazy Rich Asians. She recently won a Golden Globe for her performance in The Farewell.


Awkwafina was recently in theaters in Jumanji: The Next Level, which has grossed over $768 million worldwide. She currently stars on the Comedy Central series Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens, which has been renewed for a second season.

(Photo Credit: Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)