Life of a King: Cuba Gooding Jr. Stars in Chess Movie

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 11/2/14 2:28.

“Ex-felon, Eugene Brown, establishes a Chess Club for inner city teenagers in Washington, D.C.” This is the one-sentence description of IMDB's entry for Life of a King, a new film with chess playing an important role, starring Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr. Directed by Jake Goldberger, the film was released in cinemas in the U.S. on January 17th.

What kind of movie is Life of a King? Here's the synopsis from the official website:

Life of a King is the unlikely true story of Eugene Brown and his one-man mission to give inner-city kids of Washington D.C. something he never had – a future. He discovered a multitude of life lessons through the game of chess during his 18-year incarceration for bank robbery. After his release and reentry into the workforce, Eugene developed and founded the Big Chair Chess Club to get kids off the streets and working towards lives they never believed they were capable of due to circumstances. From his daring introductory chess lessons to a group of unruly high school students in detention to the development of the Club and the teens' first local chess competitions, this movie reveals his difficult, inspirational journey and how he changed the lives of a group of teens with no endgame.

The main character in this new “chess movie”, Eugene Brown, is played by Cuba Gooding Jr. The actor is best known for his Oscar winning role in the film Jerry Maguire, where he plays American football player Rod Tidwell. One of his first roles was his portrayal of Tré Styles in the 1991 coming-of-age classic Boyz in the Hood. He also played in As Good as It Gets, What Dreams May Come, and the Oscar-nominated A Few Good Men. He can also be seen in a film that is currently in theaters: The Butler

Here's the official trailer of Life of a King:

The film, released by Millennium Entertainment, is based on a true story. Besides Cuba Gooding Jr, Life of a King stars Dennis Haysbert, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Thurston Hill, Chidi Ajufo, Jaida-Iman Benjamin, Rickey Brown, and Buda. The film premiered in June at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Jake Goldberger directed from a script he co-wrote with David Scott and Dan Wetzel. It hit U.S. theaters January 17th.'s IM Danny Rensch "played a role" the film as well. Together with his friend and former partner IM David Pruess he spent “the better part of a few weeks” in Los Angeles, giving advice wherever they could about the chess part of the film (a big part!).

“In addition to working privately with the actors on their chess skills, to make the close up scenes (of which there are many) look as authentic as possible, we were also on call constantly to make sure every chess position, chess phrase, chess term, chess banner, etc., was 100% authentic.” 

You can read about Danny's experience on his blog, and see lots of photos here! For example, he met with the real Eugene Brown, whose Big Chair Chess Club can be found hereYou can find Life of a King on iTunes here.

Leído 29435 veces 29 comentarios
7 votos


  • hace 9 meses


    cool movie, i cried twice lool

  • hace 3 años


    good movie watched it :)

  • hace 3 años


    When I was a kid, chess was my passion, I love'd beating my weaker friends in chess.

  • hace 3 años


    I bought the movie. Now I have a bit of buyer's remorse. Let's just say it's not the strongest picture ever made. Cuba Gooding Jr., did the best he could, but with a script like that, not much could be done. Would have been better had Danny directed it.

  • hace 3 años



  • hace 3 años


    Chess is cool and allows you a chance to : bond, compete,plan,anticipate,defend,attack,win,loose,draw,make war,make friends,stay young, bridge gaps such as language,borders of all kinds... You feel adrenaline and satisfaction.

    CHESS BABY!!! I love this game!!!  

  • hace 3 años


    I watched it tonight with my roommate.  Even though he doesn't play chess he thought it was a good movie, as do I.

  • hace 3 años


    Check out the movie "fresh". Also "revolver" with Jason stathom. Best chess movies ever!

  • hace 3 años


  • hace 3 años


    Seems like a pretty generic "how do I reech these kiidz" type film, to be honest - but it's nevertheless good to see chess in mainstream movies! Smile

  • hace 3 años


    @mattisks, I don't know abt you, but mving from 500 to 1878 in abt 3yrs is pretty good in my book. Thats an Elo increase of 400+ a yr for 3yrs. Thats at least IM talent.

    FIDE stats show that the average 1600 player has had 6yrs of active chess in their lives.

    Give her another 5yrs and she should be knocking on FM (2300+ strength). Which is much more than your online cheating a$$ will ever dream of:) Plus the exposure to intl tournaments and the Kasparov foundation's support, she may make IM or GM some day!

    Don't be cynical on me buoy, i'll get Yankee on yeer a$$, don't shun the Kenian flag buoy:)

    With a light heart bro no worries:)

  • hace 3 años


    1800 is any achievement?

  • hace 3 años


    I watched the movie through iTunes, and I enjoyed it.

  • hace 3 años


    Chess relax, movies are about human stories, chess is just the setting in this particular one... the setting could be a ballet troupe or an bangladesh underwear factory for all we care, so relax and enjoy the

    In Uganda there is this poor village girl (abt 15yrs) who got into chess thru the Kasparov foundation when she was 12yrs... (she is abt 1800 now! imagine the talent!!)... she lost a game in the Olympiad a game she thought she should win, she went into depression for a few weeks, thinking about the winning position that she lost. Now she is back and working hard at her chess. I wish one day I can make a small film abt her. But the story is not a chess story... chess is just the setting for her remarkable story.

  • hace 3 años


    will definitly be checking this out.... looks good

  • hace 3 años

    Klaxx91 has its guest appearance in there haha 

  • hace 3 años


    Great to hear they used expert opinions about anything related to chess in this movie. 

  • hace 3 años


    This movie was entertaining for the whole family.  My wife enjoyed it, so did my kids.  It is already available for rent from itunes.   

  • hace 3 años


    uh i can't really tell for sure cause the guy's arm is making it so we can't see all the pieces in the actual movie but I was disappointed when what seems like a clearly winning position was just blundered on the 2nd to last move by the main character :( otherwise great movie 

    oh btw maybe I'm just retarded or the arm was indeed blocking view of some critical piece so don't take my word for it ^^

  • hace 3 años


    Think the movie has to be out for 6 months before you can actually buy it in stores.  Looks like a great movie that could inspire some young people and in reality save lives from many a mean city street. 

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