Tetris, the film helmed by Scottish director Jon S. Baird and starring Australian actor Taron Egerton (“Kingsmen: The Secret Service”), screened on March 15th at SXSW, telling a complicated story of how the Russian game Tetris became a worldwide sensation.
Henk Rogers, the Dutch-born American who secured the rights to the game over a period of a year and a half was at SXSW. While dealing with cut-throat competitors and the corrupt Russian governmental system, was onstage at SXSW after the film screened to a standing ovation and said, “It captured a year and a half in my life in two hours.”
The scriptwriter, Noah Pink, described a once-in-a-lifetime scenario where his script happened to be on the right desk at the right time and the rest is history. Brian Grazer and Ron Howard produced, and everyone wondered how this complicated story of international intrigue and double-dealing had remained hidden for so long.
The cast included Russian actor Nikita Efremov, who portrayed the original Russian creator of the game, Alexey Pajitnov. At the film’s end, the two men embraced onstage and described the film as, “Really, a story about the friendship of two guys.” Alexey is aided in fleeing Russia by his American partner.
The ins and outs of the plot are so complicated that even attempting a brief synopsis is a Herculean task. Suffice it to say that the synopsis on IMDB says: “The story of how one of the world’s most popular video games found its way to players around the globe. Businessman Henk Rogers and Tetris inventor Alexey Pajitnov join forces in the U.S.S.R., risking it all to bring Tetris to the masses.”
Following the screening, Director Jon S. Baird said, from the Paramount stage, “It’s been a quite overwhelming reaction from the audience,” which gave the film, at its conclusion, a standing ovation. Of the film’s success he said, “For me, it’s all in the performances. We had amazing Russian actors. Steven Spielberg said 80% of a film’s success was casting the film properly. The cast was amazing.” He went on to praise the performance of Taron Egerton in the lead role of Henk Rogers.
On Egerton’s part, he felt that the theme was quite universal and was “Really a story about the friendship of two guys.”
The film releases on March 31st nationwide.