Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit
My Facebook post from last week (October 29, 2020) had over 130 shares. It involved Allan Scott and The Queen’s Gambit recently released by Netflix to wonderful reviews (with a 100% Rotten Tomatoes- as of this publishing date.)
But this story is not about the shadow of Facebook. It is a sweet story. It shows the positive side of social tech and the human condition.
The First Post (October 29, 2020)
32 years ago, writer-producer Allan Scott (Don’t Look Now), brought in a book by Walter Tevis (The Hustler, The Color of Money) about a young orphan who became a chess sensation. The heroine battled genius and alcoholism. It was an unforgettable read with a haunting central character. We optioned the material. Molly Ringwald (Pretty in Pink) loved the role; Bernardo Bertolucci (The Last Emperor) was brought in to direct. Allan wrote the script and would produce. We could never find a start date that worked for the actress and director and the movie fell apart. Now, all these years later, Allan Scott has gotten his movie made with different actors, writers, and directors. But it’s the same character, the same story, the same book.
I always say that it just takes one person to believe, and believe strongly to get a creative project done. Allan Scott, now 80, believed. Well done, Allan. Hats off!
The Second Post (November 1, 2020)
On Thursday, I posted my congratulations to Alan Scott, who had lived with the project, The Queen’s Gambit, for 32 years before he got the project made. Allan is now in his 80th year. This is the note I received this morning from Dominic Shiach:
Hi, my name is Dominic. Allan Scott is my father. I saw your Facebook post and I wanted to tell you how thoughtful and moving I found your words.
I’m now 53 and I’ve watched my father resurrect Queen’s Gambit on repeated occasions. Indeed, he ‘hired’ me as his driver in London when he was conducting meetings with Bertolucci all those years ago. And I’ve been privy to the various occasions when Queen’s Gambit has been so close to getting off the ground; most recently (prior to Netflix’s involvement) with Heath Ledger about to make his directorial debut, before life and death intervened.
My poor father is currently in hospital in London, coping with various symptoms seemingly brought on by a SECOND bout of Covid-19. He’s been unwell for almost two weeks now, so he’s not yet been able to wallow in this success.
But among all the various plaudits I’ve come across, I most look forward to sharing with him your post when he’s in an improved state. It’s wonderful to have a fellow movie-maker recognize the time and unrelenting effort that this art form can take. So, thank you for the words — they will leave a lasting and profound impression.
Please keep Allan in your heart and prayers. Thank you , Dominic, for sharing your story.
Note: I am the other David Kirkpatrick. I did not write the wonderful book, The Facebook Effect. The other David Kirkpatrick did. I am extremely fond of my doppelganger, David Kirkpatrick, the Founder of Techonomy Media . We maintain a convivial correspondence. Ten years ago, to avoid further confusion on the Internet, I added my middle name “Paul” . It helped somewhat.