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Spider-Pawn, the Movie

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Several people have sent in the news that yet another Bobby Fischer project is getting fired up in Hollywood. The last one, mentioned here in 2008, was axed. This one would star Tobey Maguire, best known for playing Spider-Man in all three hit films, if not the inevitable fourth. He'll also be producing the Fischer film, the title of which may end up as "Pawn Sacrifice." Good screenwriter mentioned as well, but from the middling amount I know of the film industry, just about everything can change on a movie from the early days. Since Maguire is on board as a producer its chances of seeing the light seem decent. Let's just hope the movie ends in 1972 or thereabouts, the way Edmund Morris's first biography of Theodore Roosevelt ended with new president shaking hands of visitors to the White House right after his election.


"...the way Edmund Morris's first biography of Theodore Roosevelt ended with new president shaking hands of visitors to the White House right after his election."

Scoop that dropped name off the floor, hireling. Morris also wrote birdcage-liner bios of Reagan and Beethoven and isn't fit to lick the bottom of Robert Caro's shoes.

Michael Pitt or Crispin Glover for the Fischer role. Plus they should go the Oliver Stone route and get GMs to play GMs: Svidler as Lombardy, Kamsky as Reshevsky, Susan Polgar as Gligoric etc.

Even though he acts like a goof in real life, if Ashton Kutcher a) could act, and b) portray intelligence through the silver screen, he'd make an interesting Fischer. After all, Bobby in his twenties was tall and good-looking.

Terrible piece of casting. Given Fischer was a public figure you have to go for at least some kind of physical resemblance.

The actor Josh Lucas is an absolute double for Fischer circa the glory years. Maguire is the exact opposite and, it has to be said, unproven in the acting department.

Sadly the best filmmaker ever made, Milos Forman, was on board for a Fischer film back in the day to be made with Fischer himself, until he'd had enough of Bobby and killed the project. Pity.

Ryan Gosling. If you haven't seen "The Believer" (2001) yet put it in the Netfilx cue. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0331516/

Actually, it's a given that Tobey Maguire will *not* play Spider-Man again, as the studio has announced it will be going in a different direction from the Raimi-Maguire formula of the first 3 films....

Kutcher? No... sorry. Doesn't have anywhere near the acting chops for this. Doesn't even really look like Fischer.

Josh Lucas would be a good pick for Fischer... better than Maguire, IMO. I would love to see Jeremy Renner as Spassky, but after Hurt Locker he may be too "A-List" for a supporting role. Oh, and Brian Cox (Bourne Supremacy, XMen 2) is the spitting image of Max Euwe.

I fear that the Hollywood filmmaking formula will not allow for a proper examination of Fischer's failings - in my opinion, the best way to handle the material is a documentary....

Milos Forman "best filmmaker ever made"? I loved "Amadeus" like the next guy, but you need to make more than 2 films per decade to be in any "best filmmaker" discussion.

Gosling is perhaps the finest young actor alive today. I'd love to see him play Fischer.
I'd like to see a movie that shows that chess was a balm for Fischer's eccentricities and not the cause of them. He was an obsessional who chose chess; instead of a normal person who got trapped in a chess cage. Every indication is that his clearest thinking came over the chess board and in matters relating to chess (even some of his paranoiac ravings about chess events were later revealed to be correct).

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British fan, why are you bombarding us with all this Hollywood crap? We do have the ability to see all this anywhere else if we want, you know, via the net or just by flicking on the tube to ET.

No. I do not want the movie to end in 1972. Fischer's achievements were heroic, but his life was a tragedy. The ingredients of his success carried in them the seeds of his downfall. The "character arc" must reflect this.

I'm sure a lot of Caucasian actors could do a good job, but the actor-director couple that comes to mind first is Forester Whitaker, jr. and Clint Eastwood. They did a great job together in "Bird", the story of Charlie Parker's life.

NICHOLAS CAGE was the perfect actor to portray Bobby Fischer; but I fear Cage is now too old, even if Toby M. wanted to cast Cage.

But who should portray BORIS SPASSKY?


Spassky = Richard Dean Anderson, especially if they cover the wilderness years and 1992 rematch.

The more interesting wilderness years might be 1968-1970.

Nicholas Cage? NICHOLAS CAGE????
Put the bunny down!

Nic Cage? Augh.

Richard Chamberlain could have done it physically, although I don't know how well he could do 'crazy'.

You have inspired a discussion of the WORST selections for this role on my blog, tx. (So far I like the reader suggestion of Clint Howard quite a bit.)

Liev Schreiber would be a good Spassky, but I think he's too good an actor to take part in what promises to be an exercise in silliness.

There's no way a movie can ever top or even remotely approach the wonder of the real events in this story. Let it be...

Well, noyb, biographical films (and books and plays, etc.) don't simply recount the events of a life: they also exist as interpretations of that life, and in some sense even constitute that life. we are our memories, and our memories are stories. There's nothing superfluous in the attempt to grasp the measure of a life -- no matter how fantastical its raw materials may seem.

Re: physical resemblance to Fischer, I just saw an actor named Simon Helberg in the movie "A Serious Man," by the Coen brothers; he plays a character named Rabbi Scott. & he can act. Cool movie, too.

Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption, Starship Troopers, Highlander) as Bobby Fisher? A bit too old though.

Age aside, James Woods would have been the perfect actor to portray Fischer. Maybe it is only me, but I see a strong resemblance.

Matt Damon!

Mig, they will obviously not stop in 1972. Probably the film will be done because of post-1972 unfortunately. Let's just hope that they do not concentrate too much on it.


"Matt Damon!"

It's about Fischer, not about Carlsen.

Noting other suggestions on this thread;
Jean Claude Van Damme- Fischer
Schwarzenegger- Spassky
The KGB can be played by Nicholas Cage, Steven Seagal and Keanu Reeves.

It's either that or Russell Crowe plays the exact same role as in "A Beautiful Mind".

I am sure you are right. It would be quixotic to expect anything else.

Clancy Brown and James Woods are both ideal post-WC Fischers, going right to the end. Crispin Glover still has what it takes for pre-WC Fischer, and if they choose to go into the 90s and beyond:

Vincent Gallo = Karpov
Harvey Fierstein = Kasparov
Vincent Cassel = Grischuk
Kiefer Sutherland = Khalifman
Myopic Porn Theatre John in Midnight Cowboy = Kamsky
Ryan Reynolds = Leko
Jeffrey Tambor = Gelfand
Nestor Serrano = Topalov
Robert Pattinson = Aronian
Bolo Yeung = Nakamura
John Carroll Lynch = Mig

Right on Mr Slater, Clint Howard is an ideal lemon choice. You could also go as goyisher as possible with Ethan Hawke or Kevin Bacon, or go in another direction and cast Tony Todd for his height.

Not unlike the media of the era, the film will probably do no justice to Spassky, who was a non-conformist and pretty much at odds with the Soviet authorities (was he not #1, it would not have been tolerated).

As the film is likely going to be, as on reviewer put it, "Rocky IV just slightly geekier", I won't be surprised if Spassky character comes across as an evil bolshevik.

Also what a story it would be without a romantic subplot, heheh.

Hope I'm wrong

Isn't Maguire too short? (like that would bother a Hollywood production)

I thought the closest Fischer-looking actor is Cristopher Eccleston.

He looked a lot like the '72 Fischer when he played DCI Bilbough in "Cracker"

Well, Theorist, one deciphering your wandering babble winds up with the same any vainglorious producers will create; nothing on which worthwhile time is spent.

Forget physical resemblance. See The Aviator: Di Caprio.

Perhaps so, noyb. Although I doubt Hollywood's going to come knocking at my door anytime soon...

I think that chess players should be used to play the key roles in the movie.

For Fischer, I would use Grishuk (same sort of predatory look).

For Spassky, I would cast Susan Polgar (same sort of 'I am an artist its not about winning vibe').

The poster who asked for Mr Clint Eastwood was right , Fischer should be portrayed by someone of that caliber and style.
If anyone feels that the movie should not focus on Bobby's fragility , hates , persecution , relationship with women (his mother specially) and jews,but "more about chess" instead ... well ,you should provably wait for the Carlsen movie to come up .
I hope the movie tackles his most controversial side , Fischer himself would like it that way.

I just want Philip Seymour Hoffman to play William Lombardy.

No, Benjamin Finegold will be playing William Lombardy.

Hey ggg, this isn't community theater!

Dear Manu,

I did not suggest that Clint Eastwood play Fischer but that Eastwood would make a good director. I was suggesting that Forrest Whitaker, jr., would be a good actor to portray Fischer's brilliance and anguish. Yes, he's black. So what?

I understood that from the first time i read it (Eastwood as a director) , and the more i think about it the more convinced i am that it would be the perfect person for that project.
I love Forrest too , but it may be too much to ask for the audience.

Forest Whitaker + Jim Jarmusch = Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai = greatest movie ever made

Terraces are one of the most rewarding places to film.

Yes, Manu. In fact, now that I think about it, "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai" IS the Bobby Fischer story, told allegorically. So no need for Tobey Maguire to do a remake.

Well , if this is true , Fincher is a huge film maker and capable of doing something truly great with this movie , so this would be great news.
I personally have some doubts about the movie becoming a reality in the near future , but dreaming is nice.


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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 28, 2010 1:39 AM.

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