Surely one of the biggest surprises of the year has been Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit, which Netflix says is their most-watched limited series ever. And now you can get a closer look at how the buzzworthy show was made in a new 14-minute documentary. Netflix released this documentary online, which delves into the creation and execution of the seven-episode drama series. Scott Frank – who wrote and directed every episode – reveals his long journey to getting this made, noting that he originally tried to adapt Walter Tevis’ book as a feature film. But after the success of his Western Netflix limited series Godless, Frank was trying to figure out what to do next and hit upon adapting The Queen’s Gambit in this longform format.
Frank says what appealed to him about The Queen’s Gambit was that it was a story that’s “not about the game, it’s about the cost of genius.” In this short documentary, he and star Anya Taylor-Joy (who’s clearly in costume for Edgar Wright‘s new movie) pull the curtain back on their approach to Beth Harmon’s journey, breaking down specific turning points in Beth’s story and talking about the show’s brilliant cinematography, costumes, and production design.
“I think this is the reason why the miniseries is becoming more prominent, because you can explore these richer more complex stories,” explained Frank when talking about how the adaptation improved by getting seven hours to tell the story instead of two. “Having the opportunity to spend time with Beth in this way and not just see all of the wins but all the hard work and the sacrifices that it takes to get to the wins [is beneficial],” said Taylor-Joy in echoing Frank’s sentiment. “I think hopefully that just builds a lot of empathy for somebody who I selfishly really, really care about.”
Check out the full Queen’s Gambit documentary below, and look for this show to dominate the Emmys next year as it’s become a full-blown obsession for many.