Fans of retro puzzle games rejoice: Tetris is to be brought to life on the big screen. The 80s-set biopic Tetris will detail the legal battle over the game’s ownership rights, with Taron Egerton signed on to star as video game entrepreneur Henk Rogers.
Welsh Golden Globe winner Egerton is best known for his role as the protagonist in two other biopics—Eddie the Eagle and Rocketman—but is also famed for his appearances in both Kingsman films (Kingsman: The Secret Service and Kingsman: The Golden Circle, with a third in the works) and Testament of Youth. Aside from providing his voice for the animated film Sing 2, set to be released in 2021, this is Egerton’s first return to film following his success in Rocketman. He is also rumoured to be playing the lead role of Seymour Krelborn in the A Little Shop of Horrors remake alongside Scarlett Johansson.
Egerton’s casting was announced last week, but Tetris is still in the early stages of pre-production, with filming set to commence in September for an anticipated 2021 release date. The film is also Scottish director Jon S Baird’s first cinematic venture since the success of 2018’s Stan & Ollie.
Where this film differs from Egerton’s previous two biopic roles is that Henk Rogers is largely unknown, which may give Egerton more opportunity to make the portrayal of him really his own. Playing both Elton John and Eddie the Eagle demanded an accurate portrayal of their eccentric and powerful personalities, but there may be more room for manoeuvre and versatility in his characterisation of Rogers.
Dutch-born video game entrepreneur Henk Rogers is currently Managing Director of The Tetris Company, but in the 80s was heavily involved in a series of legal disputes over the licensing of the game. It is this conflict in the video game industry that the film will chronicle. In particular, Rogers facilitated the introduction of Tetris to a variety of video game consoles, and secured intellectual property rights to the Game Boy release for both himself and the game’s original creator Alexey Pajitnov, meaning that the latter was finally given credit and royalties for his work.
Little is known about the aesthetics of the film, but Tetris is characterised by its bright colours and blocky shapes – and with the film set in the 80s, it’s possible that the game could inspire the visual make-up of the film.
Words by Grace Dean
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