Anya Taylor-Joy was taught every chess move only five minutes before filming a scene in The Queen’s Gambit.
In fact, Anya learned English by reading the Harry Potter books with her uncle — Order of the Phoenix remains her favorite book in the series.
At 16 years old, Anya wrote her parents a letter declaring that she wanted to leave school and pursue acting, and they reluctantly let her.
Anya joined The Queen’s Gambit so early on that a script didn’t even exist yet — creator Scott Frank sent her Walter Tevis’s novel, and after she read it, she immediately “ran” to meet him.
Thomas Brodie-Sangster originally auditioned for the role of Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films and considers it the first time he experienced “rejection.”
If you didn’t know, Marielle Heller, who played Alma, is a well-known director and was behind films like A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and What the Constitution Means to Me.
Thomas and his family used to play in a band together called Winnet — his mom and sister would sing, his dad would play drums, and Thomas played the bass.
In fact, Thomas and Dylan O’Brien started a band on The Maze Runner set called the Apologies, and they would play with other members of the cast and crew.
Thomas was actually asked by screenwriter Richard Curtis to audition for Love Actually after Richard watched him in Station Jim — Thomas didn’t realize the big names attached to the movie until he showed up for the first table read.
Also, Thomas hasn’t watched Love Actually since the premiere, but he does watch “10 minutes every now and again.”
Anya knew nothing about chess before signing on to play Beth — she said she thinks it helped her “a lot” and allowed her to really dive into the world.
Anya came up with the moment when Beth toasts Alma on the plane after her death during filming — it wasn’t scripted and she thought it would be a small and impactful moment.
Anya’s years as a ballet dancer helped her come up with how Beth would physically move the chess pieces — she said, “I just got to learn really nifty, cool choreography with my fingers.”
In fact, each actor helped come up with the personal mannerisms for their characters, like Thomas came up with the idea that Benny would constantly play with his ring.
It was very important to Anya that Beth, as a female chess player, physically acted differently than her male counterparts, and that you could see that difference on screen.
Out of all the scenes in The Queen’s Gambit, the moment that made Anya and Moses the most nervous to film was when Beth and Jolene play squash, because they didn’t know how to play.
In order to have the chess games feel authentic in The Queen’s Gambit, Harry thought a lot about how his character would hit the clock if he was losing and how confident he would be in moving the pieces.
Anya had a lot of input when it came to Beth’s costumes in The Queen’s Gambit. In fact, she helped come up with the idea that Beth’s style would emulate the people, movies, and celebrities she was interacting with and watching.
Harry said one of the best scenes in The Queen’s Gambit to film is when Beth gets the phone call from Benny, Harry, and her other friends — he said, “There was a real genuine joy within the room from all her fanboys. It was a lovely moment to have.”
Moses’s favorite scene from The Queen’s Gambit is when young Beth steals all of the pills at the orphanage before getting caught.
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