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    25 "The Queen's Gambit" Cast Facts For Anyone Who Loves Anya Taylor-Joy And The Rest Of The Actors

    Anya Taylor-Joy was taught every chess move only five minutes before filming a scene in The Queen's Gambit.

    1. First, Anya Taylor-Joy was born in Miami, grew up in Buenos Aires, and her first language is Spanish — she didn't learn English until she was 8 years old after moving to London.

    2. 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.

    3. While filming The Queen's Gambit, Anya said Harry Melling, who played Harry in The Queen's Gambit and Dudley in the Harry Potter films, "graciously" sat and listened to her freak out over his involvement in the popular films.

    Anya and Harry playing against each other in a kitchen
    Netflix

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    Anya Taylor-Joy as Beth Harmon playing chess
    Charlie Gray / Netflix

    Anya recalled her first meeting with Scott, saying, "I was so passionate about the character and story. When I got to the restaurant, I was like, 'It’s not all about chess! And she needs to be a redhead!' and he was like, 'I agree! Sit down, let’s have this discussion!'"

    6. 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."

    Dave J Hogan / Getty Images, Warner Bros. / Everett Collection

    7. Anya's first audition ever was for the role of Young Maleficent in Disney's Maleficent.

    Larry Busacca / Getty Images, Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Everett Collection

    She explained, "It was my first experience of rejection, like true rejection. And it was Disney which, for me, was like, 'Oh my god,' even though I look nothing like [Angelina Jolie]. I definitely cried for a very long time after that happened."

    8. Jolene is Moses Ingram's first major TV or film role, and her next big role will be in Joel Cohen's Macbeth opposite Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Brendan Gleeson, and her Queen's Gambit costar Harry Melling.

    Moses Ingram as Jolene smiling next to Anya Taylor-Joy as Beth Harmon
    Netflix

    9. 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.

    Alma standing in front of a hotel concierge with Beth standing behind her holding a suitcase
    Phil Bray / Netflix

    Marielle talked about going back to acting after years of directing, saying, "I was feeling burned out on directing and movie-wise wasn’t sure what my next big project was going to be. So I said yes to doing this very different type of project that required a different skill set from me, sort of just to shake things up, if anything."

    10. 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.

    Pierre Suu / Getty Images

    11. 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.

    Marc Piasecki / WireImage

    Thomas said he and Dylan still "jam" together by sending videos back and forth.

    12. Harry Melling cites starring in the Coen Brothers' The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and attending drama school after the Harry Potter films as the two major reasons he was able to "move away from Dudley."

    Harry Melling in "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs"
    Netflix

    Harry elaborated, saying, "Working with Joel and Ethan [Coen] was a massive moment for me, in terms of their commitment to saying, ‘I think you can do this.'"

    13. 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.

    Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Liam Neeson in "Love Actually"
    Universal Pictures / Everett Collection

    Thomas said that out of all of his roles, he's still recognized the most as Sam.

    14. Also, Thomas hasn't watched Love Actually since the premiere, but he does watch "10 minutes every now and again."

    Olivia Olson as Joanna kissing Thomas in "Love Actually"
    Universal Pictures / Everett Collection

    15. 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.

    16. 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.

    Netflix

    Creator Scott Frank said Anya is the best crier he's ever worked with and there were so many small moments like this one that Anya made memorable because of her ability to shed a single tear.

    17. 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."

    Netflix

    18. 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.

    Netflix

    Thomas said, "That was a very personal thing. It was very interesting when we came together [to play chess], because we saw that everyone had been working on developing their little habits."

    19. 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.

    Beth and opponent contemplating their game as a crowd watches
    Phil Bray / Netflix

    She explained, "I wanted her to have a very distinctive way of moving the pieces that was still, whilst very quick and ruthless, undeniably feminine. Beth doesn't have to choose."

    20. 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.

    Netflix

    Creator Scott Frank said one of his favorite scenes in the whole show is when Jolene and Beth sit and talk about squash.

    21. 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.

    Courtesy Of Netflix

    Harry said he owes a lot to Bruce Pandolfini, who was a chess consultant on the series.

    22. 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.

    Beth Harmon wearing a beanie, sweater, and coat
    Netflix

    Anya thought it was important that the glamorous costumes made a statement about how "you can be a brainiac and like nice clothes at the same time" and through her clothes, Beth is "unapologetically feminine."

    23. 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."

    Netflix

    24. Moses's favorite scene from The Queen's Gambit is when young Beth steals all of the pills at the orphanage before getting caught.

    Young Beth on the floor surrounded by pills
    Netflix

    25. And finally, Anya was taught all of the moves Beth would make in a chess game only "five minutes" before a scene was filmed, so everything was fresh in her mind.

    Phil Bray / Netflix

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