Months after he was originally rumoured for the role, and after various potential contenders have come and gone, it appears Benedict Cumberbatch is indeed Marvel’s choice to be Doctor Strange.
According to Deadline, the once and future Sherlock is in negotiations for the role, but with no formal confirmation from Marvel yet, this one will have to linger on the margins of the rumoursphere for a little longer. We’ll have to wait and see if the deal closes, although Cumberbatch may already be being measured for capes and such by director Scott Derrickson. With a Marvel announcement due this morning, confirmation may arrive very soon.
The Sinister overseer, working from a script by Jon Spaihts, will bring to life the character originally conjured by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. He started as a selfish New York surgeon (named Stephen Strange) who loses his professional skills in a car crash. After falling on hard times, he visits a healer in the Himalayas known as The Ancient One, and learns to tap into psychic and magical powers. In recognition of his selfless efforts to thwart evil fellow disciple Baron Mordo, he’s taught the mystical arts and sets out to defeat other shady sorcerers and various villains.
Assuming his casting works out – Marvel will want to lock this one down after Joaquin Phoenix flirted with the role – Cumberbatch will likely commit to several appearances of varying influence after his initial Strange solo film, now set for a July 8, 2016 release date.
For those needing their Cumberbatch boost before then, he has The Imitation Game due on November 14, followed by voice roles in Penguins Of Madagascar on December 5 and The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies, which will feature his performance capture work as Smaug and the Necromancer.
We’ve had a virtual ark’s worth of animal voice casting announcements for Jon Favreau’s Disney-backed take on a new Jungle Book film, yet heard very little about Andy Serkis’ competing project, Jungle Book: Origins for Warner Bros. That all changed today when The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Benedict Cumberbatch has agreed to lend his distinctive voice box to lethal tiger Shere Khan. Well, he has form playing characters called Khan, we suppose.
So now we have a Khan-off in the making! In the red corner, there is Idris Elba’s apocalypse-cancelling gravelly goodness. In the blue? Cumberbatch’s Smaugy caramel tones. Who will make the best Shere Khan? Only time will tell, but you can weigh in below.
Serkis is developing the movie to incorporate a blend of live action and performance capture, looking to make his directorial debut based on Callie Kloves’ script. Expect announcements soon about characters including Mowgli, the human raised by wolves and other animals who is Khan’s sworn enemy, wise panther Bagheera and friendly Baloo the bear.
Favreau’s film is set to arrive here on October 6 next, year, while Serkis’ version will land more than a year later, on October 21, 2016.
Depending on which report you read, the crime drama based on the real life tale of Boston mobster Whitey Bulger is either still named Black Mass or has returned to untitled status. Still, however it ends up, the film is in production now, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Adam Scott as the latest additions.
Cumberbatch is replacing Guy Pearce in the film, which will chronicle the story of infamous Boston crime figure, played by Johnny Depp. Bulger masterminded a violent gang in Boston while also reportedly turning federal informant to take down rivals. It seemed to be working out well – particularly with corrupt FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) helping to smooth things – but when the Bureau began making arrests, agents double-crossed Bulger and prosecuted him as well.
Bulger fled in 1994 and was captured in 2011 in California. Cumberbatch will be Senator William ”Billy” Bulger, a career politician who claimed when questioned that he wasn’t aware of the extent of his older sibling’s criminal activities. Scott joins the cast as FBI agent Robert Fitzpatrick, marking a rare dramatic turn for the man better known for Step Brothers and sitcom Parks And Recreation.
Dakota Johnson, Juno Temple and Jesse Plemons are all board Scott Cooper’s new film, which he’s re-written based on Mark Mallouk’s earlier adaptation of the book about Bulger by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill. Expect to see this one, we’d imagine, in the second half of 2015.
Hiring just one buzzed-about actor is good enough for most directors. But Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’ David Lowery is aiming for three for his latest, hiring Benedict Cumberbatch, Will Poulter and Tye Sheridan to star in The Yellow Birds.
Lowery has written the script himself, adapting Iraq War veteran Kevin Powers’ novel. The book focuses on two soldiers, 21-year-old Private Bartle and 18-year-old Private Murphy, who meet and become friends in boot camp while preparing to head off for combat in Iraq. Bartle promise’s Murphy’s mother that he’ll bring him home safely, but they discover that keeping such oaths is difficult in a place where death lurks all around.
Lowery heard about the book from Story Mining & Supply Company bosses Jeffrey Sharp and Evan Hayes, who bought the rights and began to develop the script.
“I never had any interest in making a war film until Jeff and Evan brought me the novel by Kevin Powers,” Lowery says in a statement picked up by The Hollywood Reporter. “And perhaps I still don’t, because while Powers’ story takes place during wartime, it isn’t about the conflict. It is about characters that find themselves caught up in war, but who struggle to not let it define them. I fell in love with them.”
There’s no time scale for this one yet, but we’d hope to see it next year.
Benedict Cumberbatch is to play Richard III on television – the same character his Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman will play in the West End.
The star has been cast in the second series of Shakespeare’s History plays (Henry VI in two parts and Richard III) in the Neal Street Productions film for BBC2, the broadcaster has announced.
It comes just two days after it emerged that Freeman would play the title role in Richard III at the Trafalgar Studios in London’s West End later this year.
The second series of Shakespeare’s history plays is from the creative team behind the Bafta-award-winning The Hollow Crown films and will be directed by Dominic Cooke. It will be the first time Cooke, a former artistic director of the Royal Court theatre, has directed for the screen.
Cumberbatch said: “I can’t wait to work with Dominic Cooke again to bring this complex, funny and dangerous character to life for the BBC and Neal Street Productions’s peerless series of Shakespeare’s history plays.”
The creative team at Neal Street Productions includes Sam Mendes, who is an executive producer for Shakespeare’s history plays.
Another executive producer, Pippa Harris, said: “Neal Street Productions worked with Benedict on both Stuart: A Life Backwards for the BBC and the film Starter for Ten. His range and dexterity as an actor make him the perfect choice to bring one of Shakespeare’s towering characters to television.”
Ben Stephenson, the BBC drama controller, described Cumberbatch as “one of the world’s most brilliant and in-demand actors”.
Cumberbatch is also to play Hamlet on stage in London next year.
Fanboys and girls hoping for a Sherlock/Doctor Who TV mash-up are out of luck, it seems, following Benedict Cumberbatch’s pronouncement that he will never star in the long-running BBC sci-fi series.
Cumberfans have long hoped the Sherlock star would turn up in Doctor Who, with many suggesting he should one day play the Doctor himself and others tipping him to play his Time Lord adversary the Master. The fact that Steven Moffat is both showrunner on Doctor Who and co-creator of Sherlock has only served to fan the flames of speculation.
But now Cumberbatch himself appears to have put the idea to bed once and for all, telling an audience at Oz Comic-Con this morning “I’m never gonna play the Doctor – and nothing to do with the Whoniverse.”
Cumberbatch also appeared to lay to rest on-off rumours that he will work again under Star Trek: Into Darkness director JJ Abrams in his upcoming Star Wars movie, telling fans – according to Australian entertainment site The Iris – “I would’ve liked a part in JJ’s new Star Wars but it won’t happen, sadly.”
Benedict Cumberbatch has been attached to star in the thriller “Blood Mountain,” which Altitude Film Sales will be shopping to international buyers at the European Film Market in Berlin. UTA Independent Film Group is repping North American rights.
Sergei Bodrov (“Mongol,” “Seventh Son”) will direct, and Lawrence Bender (“Pulp Fiction,” “Inglourious Basterds,” “Kill Bill”), Nicola Horlick and James Gibb are producing. Jonathan W. Stokes penned the original script, with revisions by John Romano.
The film follows a private military contractor whose special forces team is ambushed and killed during a covert raid, forcing him to personally escort one of the world’s most wanted terrorists over hostile terrain in order to bring him to justice. With a bounty at stake and insurgents and rival mercenaries hunting them, the two find themselves facing not only their enemies, but each other in their fight for survival.
Principal photography is slated to begin in April in Morocco.
Shaun Redick is exec producing alongside Rachel Green of Derby Street Films and Brooklyn Weaver of Energy Entertainment.
Silver Reel will finance the film with executives Claudia Bluemhuber and Ian Hutchinson also serving as exec producers on the project. Skady Lis of Germany’s Getaway Pictures will serve as a co-producer on the film.
UTA Independent Film Group helped arrange financing for the project.