Anya Taylor-Joy is proving she can slide seamlessly into any era, and based on the official trailer for Scott Frank’s adaptation of “The Queen’s Gambit,” she’s going to look flawless while doing it. The latest from Frank, creator of the show “Godless,” sees Taylor-Joy play Beth Harmon, an orphan growing up in the 1950s who earned worldwide success in the field of chess.
Drawing comparisons to the Barbara Stanwyck feature “Baby Face,” young Beth is considered an anomaly for being successful at chess, considering she’s a woman. Beth wants to be the best and beat the current Russian champ. Unfortunately, she also suffers from an intense addiction to pills and alcohol that, coupled with unresolved issues from her past, threaten to turn her genius into madness.
“The Queen’s Gambit” also includes Marielle Heller, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Moses Ingram, Harry Melling, and Bill Camp. Frank co-created “The Queen’s Gambit” with Allan Scott, and both men are executive producers on the project along with WIlliam Horberg, who produced Anthony Minghella’s adaptations of “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “Cold Mountain.”
The comparisons to “The Talented Mr. Ripley” seem like a foregone conclusion here, but what “The Queen’s Gambit” seems to draw heavily from is the world of classic Hollywood. Taylor-Joy’s cool aesthetic and performance seem deeply inspired by the likes of Hitchcock blondes like Grace Kelly, the aforementioned Stanwyck, and other tough dames of the 1940s. Considering how much of the plot seems to be Beth’s social climbing being hindered by her gender, this seems like a great companion piece to those tales of women trying to succeed in a man’s world.
The young actress is also carving quite a career for herself in what feels like a short time. Taylor-Joy has anchored genre fare like “Split” but also recently showed off a flair for costume features and comedy with the adaptation of “Emma” released earlier this year. Heller, fresh off her directing turn on “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” turns to acting as a lonely housewife who befriends Beth.
“The Queen’s Gambit” will begin streaming October 23 on Netflix. Watch the official trailer for the new limited series in the video below: