Edward Zwick’s ‘Pawn Sacrifice’ Stars Some of ‘the Most Gifted Stage Actors in America Right Now’

Tobey Maguire, Michael Stuhlbarg and Lily Rabe took the red carpet for the Los Angeles premiere of “Pawn Sacrifice” at the Harmony Gold theater on Tuesday night. The film had its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.

Edward Zwick directed the biographical thriller that follows American chess whiz Bobby Fischer (Maguire) in his battle against Soviet grandmaster Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber) to become the 1972 World Chess Champion.

Maguire conducted heavy research to portray Fischer, the troubled and complex first American grandmaster of chess. “It’s been about 10 years since I first started looking into this as a film. I read anything I could get my hands on, watched everything I could watch and talked to anybody who would talk to me who knew Bobby,” Maguire said.

The film’s cast is comprised of actors with extensive stage experience. Schreiber won a Tony award for his performance in “Glengarry Glen Ross” in 2005, and Rabe was nominated for a 2011 Tony Award for her role as Portia in “Merchant of Venice.” “I realize that I have put together a collection of maybe the most gifted stage actors in America right now,” Zwick said.

Zwick noted that he didn’t specifically search out stage actors for the film, but is happy the experienced cast could take on the script and scene work. “I think I was drawn, unconsciously, to people of that particular gift,” Zwick explained.

Stuhlbarg (who plays Paul Marshall) felt his stage work helped keep him grounded and better portray Fischer’s attorney. “The theater helps captivate your imagination and makes you creative,” Stuhlbarg noted.

Rabe didn’t think her theater experience particularly helped her to play Fischer’s sister, but she enjoyed working with people who share her love for the stage. “They’re just great actors. It was wonderful to get to collaborate with this group of people. I like being around other theater nerds,” Rabe said.

The stars mingled before the movie screening, with guest Leonardo DiCaprio hanging towards the back of the crowd.

Once the screening was over, “Pawn Sacrifice” stars and their guests headed to the Church Key in West Hollywood for an after-party. Aiden Lovekamp (young Bobby Fischer) was one of the first partygoers to play a game of chess at one of the four chess boards, taking on anyone who’d challenge him. “Some people like [chess] as a sport. I don’t like chess as a sport. I think this [film] taught me that chess is kind of like a war,” Lovekamp said.

“Pawn Sacrifice” opens in theaters on Sept. 16.

(Pictured: Lily Rabe, Peter Sarsgaard and Gail Katz)

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