Reports | August 23, 2012 12:14

Tobey Maguire to play Bobby Fischer in new film

Bobby Fischer & Tobey Maguire

Tobey Maguire will play the role of Bobby Fischer in a film about the American chess legend. Last week numerous media on cinema reported on the new film which will be titled 'Pawn Sacrifice'. It will be about the life story of Bobby Fischer leading up to his 1972 World Championship match against Boris Spassky.

Fischer (from the Bobby Fischer Against the World poster) and Maguire (Wikipedia)

As it goes with many Hollywood productions, 'Pawn Sacrifice' is a film project that has been under way for years now. It seems that it was mentioned by the media for the first time in March 2010, when a draft of the script was ready. Back then David Fincher, the director of films such as Fight Club, Se7en and The Social Network, expressed his interest in the project, according to Variety. Later it became clear that Fincher merely had an advisory role as from that moment on he started working on something else, which resulted in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, his version of Stieg Larsson's bestseller.

As was reported last week, instead of Fincher the director of 'Pawn Sacrifice' is going to be Ed Zwick, who previously directed e.g. Glory, Legends of the Fall, The Siege and The Last Samurai. Zwick's last film was the romantic comedy Love and Other Drugs.

Tobey Maguire (37) is supposed to be playing Bobby Fischer. It's an interesting choice, given the fact that the film will be about Fischer's rise to the top in the 1960s (although it seems to be focusing on Fischer's World Championship victory in 1972, when he was 29). Maguire is most famous for his role as Spider-Man / Peter Parker in the Spider-Man trilogy.

Maguire is set to co-produce 'Pawn Sacrifice' as well, together with Gail Katz (Outbreak, Air Force One, The Perfect Storm). The script will be in the hands of Steven Knight, who previously wrote e.g. Dirty Pretty Things and Eastern Promises.

Last year the documentary Bobby Fischer Against the World could be seen in cinemas all over the world. It contained a lot of known and unknown footage of Fischer, as well as many photos by the famous photographer Harry Benson, who was also interviewed for the documentary. You can read our review by GM Gawain Jones here.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Anthony Migchels's picture

God, that Fischer was one conpiratorial nut......

Anonymous's picture

note that Spider Man too !

noobody's picture

A highly relevant and on topic comment, but perhaps you meant "conspiratorial".

Eric's picture

Tobey Maguire. Why oh why? I thought he was ok as spiderman, but as Bobby Fischer he is a total miscast. Both personality and looks just don’t match. Also, Tobey has a knack for simplistic, melodramatic, moralistic happy endings. How does this fit with Fischer’s life story? Anyway, sorry about this rant, I am just disappointed, it could have been a good film.

uschess's picture

Tobey Maguire?? they might as well cast will smith...actually come to think of it that would be better. Maguire is too short for starters. also I would say lacking the quick edgy tone, deep voice, and the brazenness of fischer. I could seriously see him being played by micheal phelps (after some acting classes) or leo decaprio even

KingTal's picture

No no, Will Smith will be starring as Spassky, they need to bring in a black dude.

SoundWave's picture

Not Fischer again...let the man rest in peace!

JM's picture

When reading the article the name of Ryan Gosling crossed my mind and I think it will be a better choice.

Hugh Jass's picture

that movie has stinker written all over it.

Al's picture

Christian Bale, surely?!

giovlinn's picture

NOBODY can play Bobby Fischer. He was a very complex character. It's all about money.

Mauricio Valdes's picture

Bobby is gonna get so angry he is gonna make a volcano erupt in Iceland again!

katar's picture

Tobey is co-producing, which as I understand it means he is putting up his own money to finance the thing. Perhaps he is prepared to play Fischer if they can't land another more suitable actor (Ryan Gosling would be perfect IMO!). Anyway as a co-producer Tobey would have a lot of incentive to make the project a success. Tobey would not be my first choice to play Bobby either, but he is an A-List celebrity and his involvement bodes well for the film in general. So naturally I would reserve judgment on a film that is still in the planning stage. Overall it's good news for chess.

Mindhunter's picture

Ryan Gosling FTW! :))

Roger's picture

Russel Crowe ! Rememeber 'The beautiful mind'. It seems only he can fits the role.

Anonymous's picture


voor's picture

Nicholas Cage = Fischer!

RG's picture

That would be a great fit because Cage can play very complex personalities. However he is usually very busy with some big project so who knows if he is available or has an interest. Also a producer who casts himself might want to do things on the cheap - and Nicholas Cage isn't.

barry 's picture

TOTALLY!!! been saying this for years!

noyb's picture

Bad casting. Too short and too childish-looking to play Bobby.

fen's picture

He'll wear make-up and stand on a box? Chess players sit most of the time so Maguire will probably be able to get away with being short. I just hope the movie is well-written and not the typical trite Hollywood fare.

Mauricio Valdes's picture

This film is an oxymoron.
Once Maguire "becomes" Bobby Fischer, he will ask the director to turn the cameras off, otherwise he will quit the film. Hence, no movie will be ever filmed!
We might get some footage from security cameras in the set!

Mauricio Valdes's picture

This film is an oxymoron.
Once Maguire "becomes" Bobby Fischer, he will ask the director to turn the cameras off, otherwise he will quit the film. Hence, no movie will be ever filmed!
We might get some footage from security cameras in the set!

Creemer's picture

Seems most here agree Maguire is miscast as Fischer. I agree, too. Though I like Maguire (anyone seen Wonder Boys?).

But what needs to be said here also is the sad fact that Edward Zwick, probably Hollywoods most bombastic and 'patriotic' storyteller, will take the helm. With him calling the shots, I would be surprised if even the queen will be in the right square. They'll probably be too busy making sure there's enough star spangled banners waving in the wind in the right way.

But f it: we'll all see it anyway...

MovieFan's picture

I also think Nicholas Cage would be a wonderful pick to play Fischer. I don't know if he'll ever was, or will be, considered for the part but just in terms of physique and facial structure he would be able to impersonate him well. But don't forget Leaving Las Vegas, Adaptation, Vampire's Kiss, Matchstick Men, and etc.; Cage has played a lot of depressed, psychopathic (or at least disturbed) characters who don't necessarily have a happy ending... You can really see him pulling this off. We need an actor who can portray brooding and aloof, yet at the same time have a charismatic effect on the audience. Tobey Maguire? Well, I suppose we'll have to wait a decade to get a proper Bobby Fischer movie when they reboot this series too.

uschess's picture

alright I originally thought leo decaprio bc he's tall, young enough still and has done very diverse roles but honestly Gosling is a great choice too, better even, and he definitely looks the part. But Nick Cage?! you guys must be thinking 20 years ago...

trollaras's picture

Just a big fuss for nothing, there ain't gonna be any movie for Fischer, at least in the forseeable future

dkakboyz's picture

Christian Bale the "American Psycho" would be geart!

dkakboyz's picture

Christian Bale the "American Psycho" would be geart!

T Bailey's picture

I say Armie Hammer would be a great Fischer.

pureredwhiteblu's picture

Liev Schreiber as Boris Spaasky

Jade's picture

NOBODY can play Bobby Fischer. He was a very complex character. It's all about money.Concordo

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