‘Queens Gambit’ was one of the biggest shows of 2020, and star Anya Taylor-Joy totally referenced her character Beth in the opening monologue!
Anya Taylor-Joy, 25, killed it on the Saturday Night Live finale! The Miami native brought the laughs start to finish, but fans couldn’t stop talking about the moment she poked fun at her Queen’s Gambit character Beth Harmon. “If you haven’t seen Queen’s Gambit, I don’t know what you were doing in quarantine…There was Tiger King and Queen’s Gambit — that was the only new TV for months,” she joked.
She went on to reference her character Beth’s usage of “green” tranquilizer pills that helped accelerate her chess skills. “Queen’s Gambit really helped me prepare for SNL — if I get nervous, I’ll just take a handful of green pills and follow the cue cards,” she quipped, before looking up to the ceiling to see a moving chess board just like in the show. This time, however, the chess pieces featured the faces of various SNL cast members — including Kenan Thompson!
Anya became a viral sensation last fall after her starring role in the 1950s era chess drama, which is based on Walter Tevis‘ 1983 book of the same name. In the Netflix series, her orphaned character Beth becomes a child chess prodigy after learning to play with her school janitor. Through an addiction with tranquilizer pills — which appear to elevate her ability to play — she begins to play professionally as a teen. She eventually becomes one of the top players in the world, going on to become a champion at an elite competition in Russia.
The 25-year-old earned several accolades for her role, including the Golden Globe for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film, along with the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie.
“Beth is the character I’ve given the most of myself to,” she said in a Dec. 2020 interview with The Guardian. “I didn’t realize until I met her that she was a voice I’d had in my head for as long as I remember. I’m goofier and lighter-hearted than Beth – but we have a lot of the same struggles and at our core, we’re pretty similar. I was heartbroken when I had to stop playing her. I’m just glad I got to spend seven hours with her. If it had been a two-hour movie, I would’ve had to be dragged out kicking and screaming,” she also said.