Tetris Trailer: Taron Egerton tries to get video game rights in Apple TV+’s Cold War espionage

Apple TV+ has released the first trailer for the upcoming movie Tetris. The Taron Egerton-directed (Rocketman) film, which spanned nearly a decade in production, tells the true story of the struggle to bring the classic block-matching game from the clutches of the Soviet Union to Nintendo during the height of the Cold War era. Jon S. Baird – best known for 2018’s Stan & Ollie – is directing the film from a screenplay by Noah Pink. Tetris will premiere at the SXSW (South by Southwest) film festival next month, followed by a March 31 release on Apple TV+.

The Tetris trailer begins with Henk Rogers (Egerton), a Dutch entrepreneur pitching the title game to potential Western publishers. “It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” he says enthusiastically. “It’s poetry. Art and math all work in magical synchronicity, it’s… it’s the perfect game!” We are then given some background on the name of the classic game – tetra, which is Greek for four, and tennis. The latter is simply a personal touch, as its Russian inventor, Alexey Pajitnov (Nikita Yefremov), loves the sport. We’re treated to glimpses into Pajitnov’s daily routine, which consists of work, creating Block-Ey patterns in his head, and playing tennis with random kids in his neighborhood.

Things take a positive turn when Rogers gets an exclusive taste of the Nintendo Game Boy. “Pack it with TETRIS,” he says, promising the engineers he can buy the rights to the game. He doesn’t know that under communist law the game was owned by the Soviet Union – which means he would have to deal directly with the leaders. “You are entering a country that still regards America as enemy number one,” warns an unseen accomplice to Rogers before his trip to Moscow. He also has a language problem, which the Soviets find amusing. “What did he say? I don’t speak Russian,” says an unsuspecting Rogers in the Tetris trailer when accused of simply being hungry for money.

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“The most powerful men in the Communist Party are watching you and your family,” informs Pajitno Rogers. The Tetris trailer then leads back to his house, where an unknown person storms into his house late at night and escorts his wife Akemi (Ayane Nagabuchi) and their children. “You want to play with the big ones? That’s the way the world works,” says Robert Maxwell (Roger Allam) – he’s a thorn in Rogers’ side of getting the rights to the game. In the next few scenes, our protagonist will be threatened, beaten up by idiots and thrown into an exciting chase, presented in a pixelated format – evoking the feeling of being in a retro video game. The Tetris trailer ends with Rogers presenting a game demo to Hiroshi Yamauchi (Togo Igawa), Nintendo’s third president. “Not so bad,” he remarks with a straight face.

Rounding out the cast for Apple TV+ for Tetris are Toby Jones (The Wonder) as Andromeda Software’s Robert Stein, Anthony Boyle as businessman Kevin Maxwell and son of the aforementioned Robert Maxwell, Ken Yamamura (The Wolverine) as Minoru Arakawa and Ben Miles as Attorney Howard Lincoln.

Tetris is coming to Apple TV+ on March 31st.

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