Anya Taylor-Joy Infiltrates the Boys Club of Chess in The Queens Gambit – Den of Geek

Grandmaster Chess

So when Frank, a long-time friend, invited her to join the series and spend a few months shooting in Berlin, Heller saw it as the perfect opportunity to, in her words, keep my street cred as a director who was an actor. As a director who seeks out projects about the uncomfortable things that people dont talk about, Heller found that Alma embodied those same sensibilities: Shes someone who has a lot of pain in her past, and that makes her most interesting; shes not some version of a 50s housewife that doesnt feel real. So much of what I try to do as a director is to tap into that thing that has made somebody the way they are.

Despite mother and daughters initial friction, as Beth carves out her niche in the chess world, and Alma begins accompanying her on her more glamorous tournaments, the older woman is inspired to revisit her own long-abandoned dreams of devoting her life to a creative pursuit. For Alma, Heller says, she had this dream deferred. She was somebody who wanted to be a pianist and artist and never could, and thats a pain that I feel is very human, and I totally connected to.

Whats remarkable about The Queens Gambit is that each of its female characters experiences a different and specific struggle for the time period. Scott did that really beautifully, Ingram says of playing adult Jolene, advocating for change during the Civil Rights movement while Beth is moving up through the ranks of the chess world. He didnt let us forget what point in time we were in the worldwere in the 60s, in the smack-dab [middle] of civil unrest, because people arent being treated fairly. And I loved that Jolene is out front and being a crusader, being a champion for change, when very clearly all shes known is white people her whole life. So it was beautiful to see that shes found herself later, in changing the worldtrying to, at least.

In that endeavor, Jolene describes herself as a radical, though Ingram also feels that the word was a fitting theme for the series overall.

I think its radical that Beth, as a woman, is this far into the chess world at this point in time, she says. Its unheard of that shes there, and everyones shocked by it. Its definitely a story of radical love, and radical faith.

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Anya Taylor-Joy Infiltrates the Boys Club of Chess in The Queens Gambit - Den of Geek

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