How do you turn yourself into the world’s most formidable chess prodigy when you barely know how to play the game yourself? That was the question facing Anya Taylor-Joy as she prepared to step into the mind of Beth Harmon, the protagonist of Walter Tevis’s novel ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ and its lavish Netflix adaptation, which arrives on the service this month. Set in the 1950s and ’60s, the series follows Harmon’s rise from orphan with a talent to teen prodigy to national champion, all as she deals with addiction to tranquilizers – crippling, but sometimes useful when she’s plotting her moves alone at night – and the men of the chess-world boys’ club who want to keep her out. Ahead of the series’ release, Taylor-Joy sat down with us to break down how she tapped into Harmon’s pain, why she relates to her solitary pursuit, and how her dance training helped her feign a mastery of pawns, rooks, and knights.
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US Air Date: October 23, 2020
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Marielle Heller, Thomas Brodie-Sangster
Synopsis: The series is a coming-of-age story that explores the true cost of genius. Abandoned and entrusted to a Kentucky orphanage in the late 1950s, Beth Harmon (Taylor-Joy) discovers an astonishing talent for chess while developing an addiction to tranquilizers provided by the state as a sedative for the children. Haunted by her personal demons and fueled by a cocktail of narcotics and obsession, Beth transforms into an impressively skilled and glamorous outcast while determined to conquer the traditional boundaries established in the male-dominated world of competitive chess.
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