'The Queen's Gambit' Cast on How the Netflix Drama Goes Beyond the Chess Board (VIDEO)
The Queen's Gambit, Netflix's upcoming series about a female chess champion in a time where men ruled the game, is sure to surpass viewer expectations.
Based on Walter Tevis' 1983 novel, the drama follows Beth Harmon (Anya-Taylor Joy), a young woman who finds herself abandoned at a Kentucky orphanage in the late 1950s. There, she gains a love for the game, as well as a serious addiction to tranquilizers.
Fueled by her demons and obsession, Beth dares to push the boundaries in the male-dominated world of competitive chess. "She's a badass, but she definitely has her flaws as well," Joy says of her character. "Her first encounter with chess is both wonderful and illuminating for her but also extremely problematic when it comes to her relationship with substance abuse.
"I think the relationship between understanding whether or not she's brilliant by herself or whether she needs this substance in order to open the veil into this world definitely sends her on a difficult course," Joy adds.
On that course, she'll meet some interesting characters including fellow chess enthusiasts Benny Watts (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Harry Beltik (Harry Melling).
"He meets Beth and his bubble is burst," Melling says of his character, a Kentucky State Champion. As for Brodie-Sangster's U.S. Champion, Benny Watts, viewers will first meet him at a tournament in which he's not even participating. "He just thought he'd stumble in and check out the competition," the Game of Thrones alum shares.
Benny and Harry tag along for her rollercoaster ride of a chess-playing career, but Beth's struggles are her own at the end of the day. "We are all human beings desperately working on ourselves. If you're not growing, you're not alive anymore," says Joy. While The Queen's Gambit is a feminist story about a woman's journey to break through in a male-dominated field, Joy adds, "Pretty much every field is male-dominated, so it's more about a really brilliant person who struggles with herself and overcomes that struggle."
Catch Joy, Brodie-Sangster, and Melling opening up about their characters in the videos above. Don't miss The Queen's Gambit when it arrives on Netflix beginning Friday, October 23.
The Queen's Gambit, Series Premiere, Friday, October 23, Netflix