‘Checkmate’: Emma Stone And Nathan Fielder To Reteam For Carlsen/Niemann Chess Scandal Film

Chess movies come and go; I maintain there will never be a better one than Searching for Bobby Fischer; but the game is experiencing new popularity thanks to The Queen’s Gambit. So it’s no shock that a new project is in the works that will highlight what many consider the greatest chess scandal in history, between world champion Magnus Carlsen and 19-year-old, Hans Niemann. Surprisingly, it will reteam Emma Stone, Nathan Fielder, and A24 after their successful series The Curse.

THR reports Stone and Fielder are in talks to reunite for Checkmate, based on a book proposal by The Social Network and Dumb Money writer Ben Mezrich. So what’s this scandal about? Well, in 2022 after Niemann upset the champion Magnus, leading to the latter quitting the tournament, accusations of cheating ran rampant. That was followed by Niemann launching an unsuccessful $100M defamation lawsuit. Ultimately, the whole thing ended with a wimper in arbitration, but not before wild conspiracy theories erupted involving the use of anal beads to gain an edge at chess. Yes, really.

At this stage, this isn’t something that Stone and Fielder are expected to star in. Fielder will direct, while Stone will produce the film with her partner and husband Dave McCrary. A24 is also aboard, having swooped in at the last second to take it away from Amazon and Netflix which also had deals on the table. I think we’re past the point of looking at A24 as the little arthouse distributor. They’re playing with the big boys in landing a buzzy title such as this.

Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.