The Cinematography Podcast Episode 209: Tetris

The new Apple TV+ movie Tetris tells the unbelievable but true story of how the video game became a worldwide phenomenon. Entrepreneur Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton) discovered Tetris in 1988 and partnered with Soviet inventor Alexey Pajitnov (Nikita Efremov) to bring the game from the USSR to the entire world. Tetris is a fast-paced, compelling Cold War–era thriller as Henk and Alexey race to outmaneuver their competitors who are determined to get to the market first with the “perfect” video game.

Director Jon Baird loved the script for Tetris because it was fun, fast-paced, full of political intrigue and family drama, yet based on reality. Jon decided to shoot the film in Scotland, around his hometown of Aberdeen. Moscow in the 1980’s was a very gray place, where it actually felt like someone had turned the color off. Jon worked with his DP Alwin H. Küchler, and they decided to keep the color palette desaturated in grays and browns. Aberdeen is often cloudy, with gray granite buildings, making it a great place to substitute Soviet-era Russia. Tetris producer Matthew Vaughn was very instrumental in the post-production process, and they worked with the visual effects team to put together just the right amount of video game elements in the film.

Jon grew up in a fishing town in Scotland without any connection to the movie industry. His dad loved musical theater so they would often go to London to see plays. He loved the feeling seeing live theater and movies gave him, and Jon knew he wanted to pursue a career in movies. Once he was old enough, Jon moved to London and after a few years he found a job as a production assistant, that eventually led to another job at the BBC, learning as he went. His short film It’s a Casual Life led to a technical advisor position on Green Street Hooligans, directed by Lexi Alexander, which became his big break. Jon has also won a BAFTA for directing the film Stan & Ollie.

Tetris will be streaming on Apple TV+ on March 31.

Find Jon Baird: Twitter @jonsbaird

Close Focus: In reality TV, a few shows push to unionize, but there may not be much appetite for that as the Writer’s Guild strike looks like it’s going to begin in May.

Ben’s short end: Chris Rock: Selective Outrage special on Netflix, where he talks about the slap. The infamous slap is also broken down on a YouTube channel called “The Behavioral Arts” by mentalist Spidey, who directly analyzes the body language.

Illya’s short end: Hot Rod Cameras had an event for the launch of Venus Optic’s Laowa Proteus 2x anamorphic lenses, available for under $5,000. The Proteus lenses will also get two or three more focal lengths this year. Laowa also has full frame, compact spherical zoom lenses in 28-75 and 75-180, which will be available for pre-order soon.

Listen to Ben’s new horror series Catchersavailable NOW only on Audible!

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Instagram: @thecinepod

Twitter: @ShortEndz


Podcast Credits:

Producer: Alana Kode

All web and social media content written by Alana Kode

Host and editor in Chief:  Illya Friedman

Instagram: @illyafriedman @hotrodcameras

Host: Ben Rock

Twitter: @neptunesalad

Instagram: @bejamin_rock

Editor: Ben Katz

Composer: Kays Al-Atrakchi

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