Netflix’s Queen’s Gambit is now the most popular limited series in Netflix history, ringing up a reported 62 million viewers in the first 28 days. The chess drama is a king-sized hit for Netflix, remaining the top show on Netflix for weeks after its release. It’s a madly addictive show, too, and it works even if you’re a chess idiot.
One of the most compelling elements of the Queen’s Gambit is its phenomenal cast. Let’s look at who we meet in the limited series and where we’ve seen the many familiar faces before Queen’s Gambit came along.
Anya-Taylor Joy (Beth Harmon)
The lead of Queen’s Gambit is getting a lot of attention for her role in the series, but this is far from her first role. Anya-Taylor Joy was in the little-seen X-Men movie, The New Mutants as Illyana Rasputin; she appeared in the most recent season of Peaky Blinders; and her break-out role was in Robert Eggers’ wicked little horror flick, The Witch. Most people, however, recognize her from M. Night Shyamalan’s Split and its sequel Glass, where she played Casey Cooke.
Bill Camp (Mr. Shaibel)
Bill Camp, who played the janitor at Beth’s orphanage, and the man who taught her to play chess, is a character actor who has been working consistently in the industry for 30 years. He was in The Leftovers and in a brilliant HBO miniseries, The Night Of. More recently, however, he was a main cast member in the popular HBO series The Outsider, based on the Stephen King novel.
Marielle Heller (Alma Wheatley)
Heller, who played Beth’s adopted mother, is perhaps the most interesting member of the cast because she’s probably not a familiar face to many people (she had some very small roles in Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping and the MacGruber movie), but anyone who has seen Tom Hanks’ A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood has seen her work. She directed that movie, as well as the phenomenal Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which elicited Oscar nominations for both Richard E. Grant and Melissa McCarthy. She’s also married to Jorma Taccone, one-third of The Lonely Island, who directed Popstar and MacGruber.
Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Benny Watts)— Brodie-Sangster is a former child star, and for those of us who know him for his earlier work, it’s often difficult to see him as a grown-up. We know him as the little boy, Sam, in Love Actually, but also as Jojen Reed in Game of Thrones. He’s also the voice of Ferb in the animated series Phineas and Ferb.
Harry Melling (Harry Beltik)
Melling has been acting consistently for the last decade, but most people only know Melling from one thing other than Queen’s Gambit. He played Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter movies. He’s much more likable in the Netflix series!