Anya Taylor-Joy Is Spellbinding as Beth Harmon in 'The Queen's Gambit'

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

From Men's Health

  • Actress Anya Taylor-Joy plays Beth Harmon in Netflix's new limited series, The Queen's Gambit.

  • The 24-year-old has starred in a number of critically-acclaimed hits, including Netflix's Barry, based on the life of former President Barack Obama.

  • Most notably, the actress has become a scream queen in the making, having starred in horror films like the cult hit period piece, The Witch.

Five years ago, director Robert Eggers cast a then-unknown actress, Anya Taylor-Joy, in his supernatural indie horror flick about a 17th century New England family mourning the loss of their son. The film, The Witch, would go on to become a critical hit, one of the scariest horror movies in years, and largely because of Taylor-Joy's groundbreaking performance.

Taylor-Joy would bring some of those same qualities that made that film so successful—a silent strength that could easily be confused for vulnerability—into Netflix's new limited series, The Queen's Gambit. The season follows a chess wiz, Beth Harmon, rising up in the then-overwhelmingly-dominated male game of chess during the '50s and 60s, while battling her own dependency issues (and loosely based on the lives of several real-life chess players).

In her short career, Taylor-Joy has proven a stellar performer, having starred in several horror and drama flicks that speak to her range as an actress. Let's dive into Anya Taylor-Joy's short, but rich resume of other films thus far:

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

She's already a bonafide horror scream queen

Outside of The Witch fame, Taylor-Joy has starred in several horror flicks, most notably, M. Night Shyamalan's 2016 Split and its 2019 follow-up, Glass. Taylor-Joy played the character of Casey Cooke, a young woman with a traumatic past.

She also starred in several, lesser known scary flicks like the 2017 Thoroughbreds, playing a borderline psychopathic teen willing to do anything to maintain her privilege. Taylor-Joy also appeared alongside Stranger Things' Charlie Heaton in the indie horror flick, Marrowbone, that same year.

In case you missed it, she also played a superhuman character in the recent flick, The New Mutants, based on the Marvel Comics.

She's starred in several notable period films

Photo credit: Men's Health
Photo credit: Men's Health

Sure, horror seems like one of Taylor-Joy's strong suits, but you might also recognize her from a number of major period films, like this year's Emma, based on the Jane Austen novel. Last year, she appeared as Irène Curie, daughter to Marie Curie, in the biographical film Radioactive. Taylor-Joy has also made her debut on the small screen with a stint on BBC's Peaky Blinders.

Outside of period pieces, Taylor-Joy also played a girlfriend to a young Barack Obama in Netflix's 2016 Barry.

She has several projects in the works—including another major horror picture

COVID-19 sidelined several Hollywood projects, including Taylor-Joy's upcoming time travel horror flick directed by Edgar Wright, Last Night in Soho. (The movie is now planned for a spring 2021 release.) She's also reuniting with The Witch director Robert Eggers for an upcoming film taking place in viking Iceland alongside Nicole Kidman.

As for a possible The Queen's Gambit Season 2 on Netflix, well, don't hold your breath just yet—though we're sure this is only the (incredibly promising) start to Taylor-Joy's career.

You Might Also Like