Tetris movie makers are glad they didn’t go down the Lego movie route

The tetris The brand makes its film debut with a biographical drama about the origins of the puzzle video game, but the film turned almost into a fantastical adventure with magical elements.

So say both the game’s creator and the man who helped spread it around the world: Tetris Co. co-founders Alexey Pajitnov and Henk Rogers. They are the executive producers of tetris, available now on Apple TV+. Directed by Jon S. Baird.

On the tracks of Sonic the Hedgehog, Unexplored, Warcraft and many other series tetris is the latest video game franchise to get the cinematic treatment. In the decades since the game’s release, there have been a number of near misses for a tetris Movie, with wildly different tones.

Henk Rodgers and Alexey Pajitnov Tetris poster
From left, Henk Rodgers and Alexey Pajitnov, co-founders of The Tetris Co., answer audience questions at the world premiere of the film “Tetris” at the SXSW Conference and Festivals March 15 in Austin, Texas.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

“Yes, it was a project about an interesting magic team,” Pajitnov said news weekDiscussing previous attempts to bring the tetris brand on the big screen.

In 2014, film company Threshold Entertainment announced it would be making an “epic sci-fi story” inspired by tetristhen reports in 2016 suggested it could become a trilogy of films.

“[It was going to be] a magical kind of story based on the tetris article, but what came out now, in my opinion, is much more significant and interesting,” said Pajitnov.

The Apple TV+ movie tells the story of how tetris was created in the Soviet Union and eventually spread around the world despite political obstacles. Rocketmans Taron Egerton plays Rogers while Russian theater actor Nikita Efremov plays Pajitnov.

Pajitnov, who grew up in the Soviet Union, said it’s telling that the film is coming out now when things look “hopeless” in his native country.

Nikita Efremov in the Tetris movie
Nikita Efremov plays Alexey Pajitnov in a scene from the film “Tetris”, a biographical drama about the origins of the puzzle video game.

“I’ve seen a lot of computer games [movies] very strange,” Rogers said news week. “So basically the weird ones only appeal to people who actually played the game, so that’s a subset of the population. And then people look at the movie and they’re like, ‘Wow, that has nothing to do with the game I fell in love with,’ and then they actually fuck those people.”

Rogers was a game developer set to make something in the 1980s tetris western audiences and went to Russia to secure Nintendo the rights to launch its Game Boy tetris available on the platform. There, according to the film, he first met Pajitnov, his future business partner.

“I really liked that this is a film about people. Yes, it’s a game, but it’s a film about people. It’s a film about friendship lego movie‘ Rogers said.

Rogers and Pajitnov served as executive producers to create the script while Noah Pink wrote it.

tetris began filming in late 2020 when strict COVID-19 rules were in place, meaning Pajitnov and Rogers were unable to be present during filming. Baird, the director, narrated news week how they still managed to contribute to the film.

“We couldn’t bring them to the UK where we were filming but we zoomed in on them at the very beginning, then they came into London during pickup in 2022 and we had them on set for a day,” Baird said.

“We had lots of fun. We showed them a lot of the scenes we cut and they were very excited about it. They were more involved with the scripts and giving Noah notes on certain moments and details, especially programming and stuff like that,” the director said.

Both Rogers and Pajitnov are portrayed as competent programmers using 1980s computer technology.

“I was very impressed with their reaction to the film,” said Baird. “I’m sure there’s a lot of things in there that make you think, oh, it’s not quite right. But hey, it’s a movie.”

He added, “But they were really great partners.”

When it came to representing Russia in the 1980s, Pajitnov said the behind-the-scenes creatives pulled it off.

Taron Egerton, Sofia Lebedeva, Nikita Efremov
Seen from left are Taron Egerton (Henk Rogers), Sofia Lebedeva (Sasha, Rogers’ interpreter) and Nikita Efremov (Alexey Pajitnov) in a scene from Tetris.

“What they really did in this film is [capture] Spirit and spirit of the Soviet Union at the time of perestroika. The spirit of perestroika and the dark times of this communist era. Everything is in the film, and it was a very accurate kind of spiritual reconstruction,” Pajitnov said.

tetris has been a global phenomenon for over 30 years, and while many mobile games have come and gone in that time, tetris Popularity continues.

Rogers, who was instrumental in it tetris to Western audiences, said it’s a different landscape now than when he got into gaming in the 1980s.

“The makers of games like Wordl or Candy Crush, they’re not very famous and they don’t protect their intellectual property very well, so there are a lot of me too games coming out that are confusingly similar. So my advice to new game designers is make sure you copyright your game right away before you release it,” Rogers said.

He continued: “We cannot speak to these children. There are too many of them now. There are millions of Alexey wannabe kids out there who want to make a game, but we don’t get to see them often enough.”

Pajitnov said he tried to talk to other world-famous game designers, like Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of the Mario Bros., Donkey Kong And Legend of Zelda franchise, but one thing stands in the way.

“I always try to have an inspiring conversation with Miyamoto, but unfortunately we have different languages, so most of the time we met, we just smiled,” Pajitnov said.

On Friday, tetris premiered worldwide on Apple TV+.

https://www.newsweek.com/tetris-movie-interviews-creators-glad-didnt-go-lego-movie-route-1791495 Tetris movie makers are glad they didn’t go down the Lego movie route

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