Heath Ledger almost made The Queen’s Gambit with Ellen Page as Beth - Dexerto
TV + Movies

Heath Ledger almost made The Queen’s Gambit with Ellen Page as Beth

Published: 3/Nov/2020 16:28

by Daniel Megarry

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Netflix’s hit chess series The Queen’s Gambit was once optioned to be a movie, with Heath Ledger directing and Ellen Page starring as Beth.

It’s fair to say that no-one expected The Queen’s Gambit to become as successful as it has done. A drama about chess doesn’t sound like the most compelling concept, but a solid cast and gripping story have rocketed it to the top of the ‘most-watched’ category on the streaming service.

Based on the novel by Walter Tevis, The Queen’s Gambit revolves around a young girl called Beth, who grows up in an orphanage and competes to become the world’s greatest chess player. Along the way, it explores serious topics like addiction, the death of parents, and being a woman in a man’s world.

The Queen's Gambit on Netflix
Netflix
The Queen’s Gambit has become an unexpected word-of-mouth success for Netflix

But the story as we know it today almost looked very different. Before his tragic death in 2008, actor Heath Ledger was on board to direct a movie version of the novel, with Umbrella Academy star Ellen Page courted to appear as lead character Beth Harmon.

Heath Ledger’s take on The Queen’s Gambit

The unfinished movie was being developed by Allan Scott, the pen name of Scottish writer Allan Shiach, who eventually ended up co-creating the Netflix series. He said in a resurfaced interview with The Independent that the movie was almost ready to begin production before Ledger’s death.

“Heath was the one I wanted to work with,” Shiach said at the time. “He was passionate about it; he was an intense, interested young man and I was drawn to him immediately … We spent a lot of time over the last three months working on his vision.

“We had got to the stage where we had sent the script to Ellen [Page]. Heath was full of ideas for the other cast, mainly from his list of acting friends. We were planning to make a movie at the end of 2008.”

Shiach also explained that Ledger was drawn to the story because of similarities between his own personal struggles and those of lead character Beth Harmon. In both the novel and the Netflix series, Harmon deals with addiction.

“Everyone knows Heath was a user of prescription drugs; and that he had addiction issues when he was a young man,” he added. “The movie business lost a real talent. I think he would have been an extraordinary director.”

Netflix’s success with The Queen’s Gambit

Ledger passed away January 28, 2008, before production on the movie could begin. Plans for the big-screen adaptation were put on hold, with Shiach saying Ledger was “the right director” for it. Now, 12 years later, it’s become a critically-acclaimed TV series.

Season 1 of The Queen’s Gambit is available to watch on Netflix now, and it’s arguably the must-watch show of the moment. It currently holds a rare 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and even won approval from horror icon Stephen King.

TV + Movies

Everything we know about John Wick Chapter 4: Cast, release date, more

Published: 17/Nov/2020 21:23

by Michael Gwilliam

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Fans of John Wick expecting the series to wrap up with Chapter 3: Parabellum in 2019 were in for a major shock when the film ended with a cliffhanger leading to yet another installment.

Since beginning in 2014, the John Wick series has received critical acclaim from fans and critics for its unique setting where seemingly everyone is an underground assassin and over-the-top violence.

The action series still has at least two more films up its sleeves, plus a potential spinoff in Ballerina and a television prequel titled “The Continental.” But for fans of the original series, chapter four is where all their attention lies.

Here is everything we know about John Wick Chapter 4 right now.

John Wick stealth
Lionsgate
John Wick Chapter 4 got pushed back to 2022.

When is John Wick Chapter 4 coming out?

Due to the world health crisis and the fact Keanu Reeves is working on The Matrix 4, John Wick had to be pushed back a bit from its planned 2021 release.

How much is a bit? Try a full year. On May 1, 2020, Lionsgate announced the film had been pushed back to May 27, 2022.

While this is rather unfortunate, it’s expected, as many big Hollywood projects fell behind in production. At least hopefully by then, theaters will be open so we can see all the action on the big screen.

Fishburne in John Wick
Lionsgate
Hopefully Laurence Fishburne returns for Chapter 4.

Who is starring in the film?

As of this moment, only Keanu Reeves is confirmed to return as the title character, however, it’s likely that we’ll end up seeing Laurence Fishburne come back as The Bowery King given Chapter 3’s ending.

Additionally, given the number of loose threads, it’s likely that we will see quite Asia Kate Dillon come back as The Adjudicator, Ian McShane as Winston, and Lance Reddick as Charon.

Of course, with a fifth chapter still to come, some of the potential returnees could end up being saved for the future entry.

John Wick wields gun
Lionsgate
The John Wick films keep outdoing themselves.

What is John Wick Chapter 4 about?

At the end of the third film, John was betrayed by Winston after the two worked together to fight off High Table assassins within The Continental.

After being shot and falling from the roof of the building, Wick is nowhere to be found. It’s then revealed that John had been delivered to The Bowery King where the two plan revenge against The High Table.

Unfortunately, how the two end up striking back remains a mystery for now, but Director Chad Stahelski teased some new ideas he has in store for the film.

John Wick on horseback
Lionsgate
How will Chapter 4 top horses?

“I think I have a lot of really cool ideas for the next one that I think are different and shocking and fun and unique,” Stahelski said in an interview with Collider.

With the fifth film still confirmed, we can only expect this fourth entry to conclude with some sort of cliffhanger as well, but only time will tell. Until then, we can just wait or go back and rewatch the previous three action masterpieces.