Netflix has released the trailer for their upcoming miniseries, The Queen’s Gambit. Anya Taylor-Joy is a chess master straddling the line between “genius and madness” in our first substantial look at the series, which debuts October 23rd, exclusively on Netflix. “Creativity and psychosis often go hand in hand,” declares a voice in the trailer. “Or, for that matter, genius and madness.”
Based on the novel by Walter Tevis, the Netflix limited series drama The Queen’s Gambit 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 (Anya 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.
The trailer for this Netflix miniseries is stylish and dark. From the start, Anya Taylor-Joy’s Beth Harmon character is being coached on being alone for the rest of her life by her mother. From there, it’s a series of flashes to different points in Beth’s life (ages 8 to 22), from being in an orphanage, to conquering the world of chess in the 1940s, to getting caught up in the world of drugs and alcohol. The footage also appears to fall directly in line with Walter Tevis’ source material.
The Queen’s Gambit consists of 5 episodes, which will all premiere on October 23rd in order to allow a binge-watching experience. The show was officially announced by Netflix in March of 2019 and went into production that following August, after Anya Taylor-Joy signed on to star. Most of the miniseries was shot in Ontario, Canada, but there are some scenes that were completed in Berlin, Germany.
Walter Tevis’ novel of the same name came out in 1983, one year before he died of lung cancer. The book contains themes of feminism, chess, drug addiction, and alcoholism. The novel’s epigraph (short quotation at the beginning of the book) is William Butler Yeats’ poem, “The Long-Legged Fly,” which echoes one of the other major themes of the book: the inner workings of genius in a woman. Tevis discussed the book in a 1983 interview and announced that he intended to write a sequel. However, that did not come to be, as he passed away in 1984 at the age of 56.
The Queen’s Gambit is directed and written by Academy Award nominee Scott Frank and executive produced by Frank, William Horberg, and Allan Scott, who also co-created the series. The miniseries stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Marielle Heller, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Moses Ingram, Harry Melling, and Bill Camp. You can check out the trailer for The Queen’s Gambit above, thanks to the Netflix YouTube channel.