Benedict Cumberbatch to play Beatles manager Brian Epstein in new biopic
Benedict Cumberbatch is to star as Brian Epstein in a new biopic about the iconic Beatles manager.
The as-of-yet untitled film will reunite Cumberbatch with Sherlock director, Paul McGuigan, who as well as directing the hit BBC Drama has previously worked on feature films including Wicker Park and Push.
Often referred to as "the fifth Beatle", Brian Epstein signed The Beatles in 1961, and died six years later from an accidental overdose, having struggled with gambling, drug addictions and his sexuality.
The film, to be produced by Tom Hanks via the Playtone banner, is to largely focus on Epstein’s personal life rather than on his relationship with the band.
Producers have described it as the story of “the man who threw the biggest party of the 1960s but ultimately forgot to invite himself.”
The casting news arrives as another Brian Epstein film, The Fifth Beatle, comes together. The groundbreaking project, written and produced by author Vivek J. Tiwary, marks the first time a feature film about the band has secured rights to include Beatles songs.
Cumberbatch, who shot to further popularity as Christopher Tietjens in the BBC’s critically acclaimed adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End this year, already has a list of projects in the pipeline.
The actor is set to star in Steve McQueen’s Shame follow-up Twelve Years a Slave, as well as the villain in the new Star Trek movie, due next year.
He earned an Emmy nomination this year from his role as Sherlock.