In advance of its world premiere tonight in Toronto, Pawn Sacrifice, Ed Zwick’s movie about erratic chess genius Bobby Fischer and his 1972 matchup with Soviet champion Boris Spassky, was picked up by Bleecker Street for a low seven figures price. Tobey Maguire, who stars as Fischer, worked for a decade to get the story on film, and Steven Knight, who recently wrote and directed the Tom Hardy drive-and-talk drama, Locke, wrote the script.
Fischer was a child prodigy who was also combustable, paranoid, rude, and antagonistic. He raged against Jews and Communists, and accused the Soviet and the international chess cabal, as he saw it, of collaborating together against him. But there was no denying his talent, and when he finally met Spassky in Iceland for the world title, in an atmosphere that can best be described as circus-like, he delivered one of the greatest moments in the game’s history and a cold war victory for the West.
Liev Schreiber plays Spassky, and the film also stars Peter Saarsgard, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Robin Weigart.
The film marks the first acquisition for Bleecker Street, the new outfit headed by former Focus exec Andrew Karpen. Pawn Sacrifice is tentatively scheduled for a 2015 release. Deadline initially reported the sale.