Anya Taylor-Pleasure Says Her ‘Queen’s Gambit’ Character is Like a “Shark Circling a Fallen Seal”


Netflix’s new restricted collection The Queen’s Gambit is an achingly lovely take a look at the demons and angels duking it out within the soul of 1 younger chess prodigy. Anya Taylor-Joy performs Beth Harmon, the prodigy in query.

After rising up in a lowly Kentucky orphanage, Beth finds her confidence on the world stage, beating the best grandmasters on the planet and turning into one thing of a starlet in chess circles. Nonetheless, Beth is haunted by a continuing procession of private loss. She soothes her trauma with booze and makes use of tranquilizers to calm her thoughts. All in all, it’s a arrange for catastrophe. And The Queen’s Gambit delves into this drama with type, substance, and a sensational star flip from Anya Taylor-Pleasure.

For the previous few years, Anya Taylor-Pleasure has been dazzling audiences with a string of fabulous turns in auteur-led movies. From her actually haunting movie debut in Robert Eggers’ The Witch to Autumn de Wilde’s sumptuously sensual tackle Jane Austen, Emma., Taylor-Pleasure is an actress who radiates greatness. Or on the very least, the promise of it. The Queen’s Gambit harnesses this high quality in spades, letting Taylor-Pleasure absolutely inhabit the guise of genius in all its glamour, grace, strangeness, and sorrow.

Decider chatted with The Queen’s Gambit star Anya Taylor-Pleasure earlier this month and she or he defined that the important thing to Beth got here right down to her physicality…one thing that at occasions echoed a “shark circling a fallen seal.” And that she would by no means have even been capable of play Beth the best way she did with out the whole belief of the collection’ creator, Scott Frank.

(Delicate spoilers for The Queen’s Gambit forward.)

Anya Taylor-Joy in The Queen's Gambit
Picture: Netflix

I used to be so struck, all through the entire present, by your physicality. The way in which Beth strikes the items on the board, the best way she strikes in her day-to-day life, it appears so exact and so Beth. I’m simply curious the way you got here up with that method of embodying her in your physicality.

ANYA TAYLOR-JOY: Thanks a lot. If I’m being sincere, it was an experiment. I undoubtedly was like, “I ponder whether persons are going to see this.” In my head, I simply thought, “I get. to play this character from [ages] 15-21. How am I going to promote this?”

At the back of my head, I used to be like, “Okay, I’m going to start out doing these little twitchy issues.” As an illustration, on the very starting, she finds it so tough to speak to folks that as a substitute of claiming “Hey,” she’ll simply clear her throat. That slowly will get taken away as she will get a bit extra assured, or learns one thing else.

Lots of it was Scott Frank deciding to belief me, and being variety sufficient to let me check out all of those totally different theories. After which it simply felt proper. It felt straightforward for my mind to know the place I used to be if I had all of these little ticks, and people methods of strolling, stuff like that. As a result of there have been days the place I used to be enjoying her at 15, 19, 20, 21 [years of age], and we have been simply swapping backwards and forwards. It was a great way of being like, “Okay, and I’m right here now. That is the best way we’re doing it.”

Anya Taylor-Joy playing chess in The Queen's Gambit
Picture: Netflix

On that be aware, the scene with you and the youthful Russian participant, I used to be each howling in laughter on the method she performs him, and likewise simply so touched by their dialog afterwards. What did you consider that complete sequence, and what it says about Beth as a personality and a participant?

Once more, I’m so grateful that Scott let me go together with that one. I went as much as him proper earlier than, and I used to be like, “I would like her to psyche him out. As a result of he bothers her. That is the primary time that somebody is youthful, and it’s affecting her pleasure on such a deep degree. I would like her to go large. I would like it to be like a shark circling a fallen seal, or one thing like that.”

Then afterwards, the dialog is so telling. As a result of it’s type of a dialog that she’s having with herself. Should you grow to be a world champion at 16, what are you going to do afterwards? What’s your recreation plan? I feel the kinship that she feels with him — and simply how candy he’s, asking concerning the drive-in films. The truth that they’ve each given up a lot of their childhood to pursue this dream, to pursue this life path. There’s at all times one thing that you just hand over. It’s a must to stability that value, I feel.

Anya Taylor-Joy looking at a chess board in The Queen's Gambit
Picture: Netflix

In any case this, how good or unhealthy of a chess participant are you in actual life?

[Laughs] I’m not the world’s finest chess participant. I’m the world’s most aggressive one, although. The present undoubtedly — the primary time I performed chess previous to this present, I used to be amazed at how a lot it bought to me, how anyone difficult my mind on this board bothered me deeply. I used to be like, “Oh, okay. I’m undoubtedly going to have the ability to play this character. I’m down. That is going to be fantastic.”

However no, it’s good to have the ability to play chess. I really feel like I’ve been given this perception right into a secret world that I wasn’t conscious of earlier than. Now, I’ve such deep appreciation for it, and deep love. The entire characters that basically, actually play chess, they’re simply fascinating to me.

The Queen’s Gambit is now streaming on Netflix.

Watch The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix





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