'The Queen's Gambit' Trailer: See Anya Taylor-Joy Play a Chess Prodigy

Anya Taylor-Joy is bringing the coming-of-age drama about a chess prodigy to life in The Queen’s Gambit, and ET is exclusively debuting the full-length trailer for the Netflix limited series ahead of its Oct. 23 debut.

Based on the novel by Walter Tevis, the series “explores the true cost of genius” as it tells the story of an orphan, Beth Harmon (Taylor-Joy), who discovers she has a remarkable talent for chess. Soon after she’s adopted by a lonely housewife, Mrs. Alma (Marielle Heller), Beth’s passion for chess grows as she starts competing around the country. However, her passion for the game is challenged by her addiction to tranquilizers, which she turns to, to help combat her personal demons after being abandoned as a young child.   


Executive producer William Horberg tells ET that after reading Tevis’ novel, he thought it would be perfect for the screen. “I couldn’t stop turning the pages, desperate to know what would happen next to his unique protagonist, Beth Harmon,” he says. “Tevis really skillfully made us walk in her shoes on her emotional roller-coaster ride.”

Of course, the series would be nothing without Taylor-Joy, who Horberg says “was a gift that just kept on giving.” After conquering the horror genre and earning critical acclaim for titular performance in Emma., the actress makes the most of her first leading TV role. 

“We needed someone with a rich interior life and an interesting face as so much of the story is carried by these non-verbal cinematic moments,” he says. “She has incredible eyes, and as an audience, we can’t take our eyes off of her; it’s a very complex character and role and she brought all the right colors, plus some wonderful unexpected choices, to her performance.”

Rounding out the cast is Emmy-nominated actor Bill Camp (The Night Of), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Game of Thrones), Harry Melling (Harry Potter films) and newcomer Moses Ingram, who will next be seen opposite Denzel Washington in Macbeth. However, the most unexpected member of the ensemble is Heller, who is perhaps most famous for directing The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Can You Ever Forgive Me? and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

A true multi-hyphenate, Heller proved to be the perfect person for the part. “She really threw herself into that character,” Horberg says, adding, “I think it was really fun for her to only have to act in this one.”

The Queen’s Gambit, developed by Scott Frank and Allan Scott, premieres Friday, Oct. 23 on Netflix. 


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