Who knew that licensing the rights to a video game could make for such a high-stakes thriller full of international intrigue? Video game designer Henk Rogers journeyed to Moscow at the tail end of the Cold War looking to land the rights to the puzzle game Tetris for Nintendo. Rogers’ mission saw him forge a friendship with the creator of Tetris, software engineer Alexey Pajitnov, while also becoming embroiled in a legal battle between gaming industry giants.
Rogers’ experiences are now the subject of the upcoming Apple TV+ film Tetris, starring Taron Egerton as Henk Rogers. can exclusively debut the new poster for Tetris, featuring a mustachioed Egerton as Rogers. (Pajitnov is portrayed by Londongrad’s Nikita Yefremov.)
Tetris is directed by Jon S. Baird, who recently chatted with via e-mail about what drew him to make a film about the story behind Tetris. While Baird was a fan of the game as a teenager and still plays it on his iPhone, he admits, “I’d never heard of Henk or knew anything about the backstory before I read (Noah Pink’s) script. I hope that most people will be similar before coming to the movie as it’s such a remarkable and surprising true story.”
Apple TV+’s official synopsis for Tetris describes it as “a Cold War–era thriller on steroids, with double-crossing villains, unlikely heroes, and a nail-biting race to the finish.” Tetris couldn’t differ more from Baird’s previous film Stan & Ollie – a period drama about the early Hollywood comedy duo Laurel and Hardy – which was exactly what Baird was looking for.
“Tetris is completely different in pace and tone from my last movie Stan & Ollie, but my movie before that, Filth, was again completely different. I like challenging myself with new genres and therefore Tetris provided that with a chance to work on a bigger scale, with a wider canvas and more resources,” said Baird.
“At its heart, it’s a buddy movie and I’ve always been drawn to those, which I suppose is why I also chose Stan & Ollie.”
Although much of Tetris is set in Soviet-era Moscow, the film itself was shot in Baird’s native Scotland, which ended up not being as difficult to double for Russia as might be expected.
“Glasgow provided some really great matches in terms of Moscow’s Neoclassical architecture – which I believe was actually designed by a Scottish architect. Our great find though was my home city of Aberdeen which doubled incredibly well due to some of its Brutalist structures,” Baird explained.
“Both places were of course assisted by some elaborate set extensions due to the vastness of Moscow compared to those relatively smaller Scottish cities.”
Gamers can experience the story of Henk Rogers and Alexey Pajitnov for themselves when Tetris premieres globally on Apple TV+ on March 31.