With writer-director Scott Frank’s fantastic limited series, The Queen’s Gambit, now streaming on Netflix, I recently got to speak with Marielle Heller about returning to acting after spending the last few years directing A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and Can You Ever Forgive Me.


Image via Netflix

If you haven’t seen the trailers, The Queen’s Gambit is based on the novel by Watler Tevis and follows Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy), who was abandoned to a Kentucky orphanage in the late 1950s. While there, she discovers an extraordinary talent for the game of chess, but also becomes addicted to the tranquilizers provided by the state as a sedative for the children. After getting adopted by Alma Wheatley (Marielle Heller), Beth attempts to battle both the struggles of her chemical dependency as well as the misogyny of the male-dominated world of competitive chess. Loaded with great acting, incredible production design, and beautiful cinematography, I loved this series and absolutely recommend checking it out. The Queen’s Gambit also stars Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Moses Ingram, Harry Melling and Bill Camp.

During the interview, Marielle Heller talked about what was it like acting after a ten-year hiatus, not having to worry about anything other than acting, how the series doesn’t have the typical villain, what it was like filming in Berlin, the incredible production design, why she loves Christopher Guest’s Waiting for Guffman, the status of her next directing project, Five Women, and a lot more.

Check out what she had to say below and further down the page is exactly what we talked about.


Image via Netflix

Marielle Heller:

  • How did her work as a documentary crew member in Popstar and Clocky in MacGruber help prepare her for the role in The Queen’s Gambit?
  • What TV series would she like to guest write and direct?
  • What movie has she seen the most?
  • What was it like acting after a ten-year hiatus and not having to worry about anything other than acting?
  • How the story doesn’t have the typical villain.
  • What she loved about her character.
  • What it was like filming in Berlin, the incredible production design and cinematography.
  • The status of her next directing project Five Women.



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