Apple TV+ has dropped the first trailer for its upcoming film Tetris. In what took almost a decade to produce, the Taron Egerton-led (Rocketman) movie charts the true story of the struggle to bring the classic block-matching game onto Nintendo, from the clutches of the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War era. Jon S. Baird — best known for 2018’s Stan & Ollie — directs the film from a script penned by Noah Pink. Tetris will first premiere at the SXSW (South by Southwest) film festival next month, after which it drops on Apple TV+, on March 31.
The Tetris trailer opens with Henk Rogers (Egerton), a Dutch entrepreneur, pitching the titular game to potential Western publishers. “It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen,” he says with high enthusiasm. “It’s poetry. Art and math, all working in magical synchronicity, it’s… it’s the perfect game!” We’re then given some background details on the classic game’s name — tetra, which is Greek for four, and tennis. The latter is simply a personal touch because its Russian inventor Alexey Pajitnov (Nikita Yefremov) loves the sport. We’re treated to glimpses of Pajitnov’s daily routine, which involves work, creating block-ey patterns in his head, and playing tennis with random kids in his neighbourhood.
Things take a positive turn when Rogers gets an exclusive sneak peek at the Nintendo Game Boy. “Package it with TETRIS,” he says, promising engineers that he can get the rights to the game. Little does he know, according to Communist law, the game was a Soviet Union property — meaning, he would have to negotiate directly with the leaders. “You’re walking into a country that still considers America enemy numero uno,” an unseen accomplice warns Rogers, before his trip to Moscow. He also has a problem with language, which the Soviets find amusing. “What did he say? I don’t speak Russian,” a clueless Rogers says in the Tetris trailer, when he’s accused of simply being money hungry.
“The most powerful men in Communist Party is watching you and your family,” Pajitno informs Rogers. The Tetris trailer then traces back to his home, where an unknown person is seen storming into his house at late hours and escorting his wife Akemi (Ayane Nagabuchi) and her children. “You want to play with the big boys? This is how the world works,” Robert Maxwell (Roger Allam) says — being the thorn in Rogers’ task to acquire rights to the game. In the next couple of scenes, our protagonist gets threatened, beat up by goons, and gets into a thrilling car chase, portrayed 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), the third president of Nintendo. “Not too bad,” he remarks with a straight face.
Rounding out the cast lineup for Apple TV+’s 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 lawyer Howard Lincoln.
Tetris drops March 31 on Apple TV+.