bobby fischer

Hopefully you’ve read a bit of sarcasm into the title of this piece, because I truly expect that Tobey Maguire is quite likely happy to set aside the Spider-Man costume. There’s a very specific challenge to making big superhero films, but after three of them I’d expect that the challenge of playing something like his character in Brothers would be immensely more satisfying.

Oddly, I envision famous chess master Bobby Fischer as being somewhere between Peter Parker and Maguire’s character in Brothers. Now Maguire is producing the film Pawn Sacrifice (a fantastic title) and eyeing the lead role, which would have him playing Fischer circa 1972, when he beat Russian chess champ Boris Spassky.

The news about Maguire’s involvement in Pawn Sacrifice is buried in a DHD report about Matt Damon’s interest in an RFK biopic. The script is by Steven Knight, the same writer behind the Matt Damon RFK movie, and the screenwriter of Eastern Promises. Knight has already moved forward from Pawn Sacrifice, as he’s been hired by Columbia to adapt Dan Brown’s novel The Lost Symbol. So if Maguire’s version of the film happens, don’t be too surprised to hear of a new writer hired to tinker with the script.

I like this idea a lot, despite the relative lack of resemblance between Maguire and the long-faced Fischer. I’m glad to see that the film isn’t going the straight biopic route. I don’t expect that we’ll see some of the later, weirder elements of Fischer’s life, as when he became ultra-reclusive and expressed anti-Semitic and anti-American ideas.

Not that I think those parts of his life shouldn’t be shown, but it would be all too easy for a film to get bogged down there. Focusing on Fischer’s battle against Spassky, with Fisher’s already finicky personality and the cold war overtones that were added and emphasized by American media, is interesting material enough. (This is the same matchup, incidentally, that was the subject of the musical Chess.)

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