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‘Tetris’ director Jon S. Baird dishes on the surprising origins of the game

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The addictive 80s video game Tetris is now a movie, debuting Friday on Apple TV+. It’s not a game about playing Tetris, though, it’s the based on a true story depiction of how it went from a Russian government facility to worldwide video game domination, thanks in part to a salesman named Henk Rogers, played by Taron Egerton, and the game’s inventor Alexey Pajitnov.

Jon S. Baird directed Tetris and he shared that he had no idea this origin story existed.

“Just the fact that this was invented in the Soviet Union at this time and what this crazy sort of computer geek went through to get the rights for us,” he said. “It just kept unfolding, unfolding and becoming more sort of unbelievable as I read, you know.”

Baird added, “Even at the very beginning, like when they said, ‘Oh, did you know Tetris was invented in Moscow in the eighties’, I was like, ‘Come on.’ I said, ‘It has to be like a Japanese thing. It’s got to be.’ Which I think a lot of people probably think.”

As for how the movie stacks up against the historical events, Baird says, “The movie is 100% emotionally true, in terms of his journey and Alexey’s journey and what they went through to get this film to the world.”

“There’s obviously Hollywood all over the film in terms of car chases and various other things. But you wouldn’t believe how much of it actually happened,” he continued. “So I don’t have a percentage for you, but I can tell you what Henk said, yeah. Which I found was a lovely way to describe it.”

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