DreamWorks Animation might take it as a good sign that the mere sound of Benedict Cumberbatch‘s voice — and the vision of him in character as an animated wolf in Penguins Of Madagascar – elicited screams in Hall H this morning at Comic-Con. Cumberbatch, who’s making his first stop at the San Diego fan convention this year, also stars in Comic-Con fave Sherlock and Peter Jackson’s upcoming The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies. Not that distracting Sherlock chatter was welcome at the DWA panel: “Any questions about Sherlock, and Comic-Con is CANCELLED,” joked moderator Craig Ferguson.
Cumberbatch stars in Penguins as Classified, the leader of secret animal agent operation The North Wind who teams with Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private to stop new villain Dr. Octavius Brine. John Malkovich stars as Brine and also made his maiden voyage to San Diego Comic-Con for the panel. “This your first Comic-Con? You’ll fit right in,” Ferguson quipped to Malkovich. Studio pushed the Madagascar spin-off hard, unveiling 20 minutes of footage from the November 26 release.
Related: Hot Trailer: ‘The Penguins Of Madagascar’
There is also speculation and hotfire rumors that Cumberbatch will be announced to star in Doctor Strange, Marvel’s franchise-launching film that will be directed by Scott Derrickson and penned by Jon Spaihts. Cumberbatch has been deflecting questions left and right — maybe more clarity is to come at the Marvel presentation Saturday?
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Earlier today, the London Film Festival set The Imitation Game as its opening-night gala. We now have a trailer courtesy of The Weinstein Co — which paid a whopping $7M for the Morten Tyldum-directed movie at the Berlin EFM in February. Benedict Cumberbatch stars in the story of Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win World War II. Winston Churchill said Turing’s was the single biggest contribution to Allied victory, but the brilliant scientist was later prosecuted by the UK government in 1952 for homosexual acts which the country deemed illegal. He died two years later and was just granted a posthumous pardon by the Queen in December last year. The film centers on Turing and his team’s race against time to break the Enigma code at Britain’s top-secret Bletchley Park facility. Graham Moore wrote the script. Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Rory Kinnear, Charles Dance, Allen Leech and Matthew Beard also star. Weinstein will release in the awards-season corridor on November 21; Studiocanal releases a week earlier in the UK.
The 58th BFI London Film Festival will kick off October 8 with the European premiere of Morten Tyldum’s Alan Turing drama The Imitation Game. The selection will guarantee a starry opening night with Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley in attendance at the Odeon Liecester Square. The screening will also be simulcast to cinemas across the UK. Cumberbatch plays Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win World War II. The film is a nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team at Britain’s top-secret Bletchley Park code-breaking center. Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Rory Kinnear, Charles Dance, Allen Leech and Matthew Beard also star. The Weinstein Co famously paid $7M for the film in a record-breaking deal at last February’s EFM in Berlin. It will release on November 21 in the U.S., and Studiocanal is releasing in the UK on November 14.
This is billed as a European premiere, so the film is expected to turn up at one of the fall festivals — two of which, Toronto and Venice, are announcing lineups this week. Last year, the London fest scored the Euro premiere of Captain Phillips as opener and the world premiere of Saving Mr Banks for the closing night. It’s a key venue for potential awards-season contenders to get out in front of all of those BAFTA voters, … Read More »
Cor blimey, the British aren’t coming — they’re here to stay. Including Ricky Gervais’ surprise Emmy nomination as Lead Actor in a Comedy series for Derek this morning, there are 15 nods for Brits in the acting races this year. If we add voice-overs, Jeremy Irons and Daniel Craig would make it 17 performance nods. Last year, there were 14 total.
British actors have been plying their trade in U.S. series for ages, but this crop boasts a lot of British-based (or instigated) productions and co-productions rather than U.S. shows à la Homeland. The UK TV tax credit has encouraged British broadcasters to strive for increasingly ambitious productions.
Along with Gervais, whose Derek was originally commissioned for Channel 4 before being picked up by Netflix, there’s a big group from perennial Downton Abbey, a co-pro of Carnival Films and Masterpiece; a first Emmy nod for Golden Globe nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor in BBC miniseries Dancing On The Edge, which Starz airs Stateside; Idris Elba in Luther, another BBC show that goes out on BBC America; and Helena Bonham Carter playing the British-American Elizabeth Taylor in BBC and BBC America co-pro Burton & Taylor. And, of course, Sherlock is back this year. Benedict Cumberbatch scored a Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie spot … Read More »
The game is on — again!, BBC One tweeted this afternoon. That was following clues it left Monday night alerting Sherlock fans that a surprise was in store for today. In the first missive, the channel — which had changed its handle to “Sherlock – #221back” for the occasion — posted a GIF of Andrew Scott as Moriarty from the last episode of Season 3, and the question, “Did you miss me?” An hour later, BBC One wrote, “It’s all gone dark… Something’s coming… Or someone. Details at 2.21pm tomorrow.” And now we’ve solved the mystery. The BBC has confirmed the sleuthing drama will return for a special, followed by a series of three new episodes. Shooting on the special will start in January 2015, with the series shooting later next year. “We’re ready to unleash the most shocking and surprising series of #Sherlock yet. The only thing is to expect is the unexpected…,” said BBC One today. A fourth season has unofficially been afoot for some time, but dates have never been specified — a lot of juggling is necessary given the big screen demands on stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Today’s confirmation follows reports on Sunday that the high-functioning sociopath and sidekick/best pal Dr John Watson would be back for a special in 2015. Freeman told The Telegraph a period of filming looked “pretty likely” in early 2015 and that he thought it “might be for next Christmas.” Either way, fans have had to wait long periods before to catch up with the characters, and their fervor has not abated. When Season 3 kicked off on BBC One and PBS in January this year after a two year hiatus, it was the series’ most-watched episode ever, on both sides of the Atlantic. Read More »
Vision Films and self-distribution platform Vimeo have partnered to release soccer docu Cristiano Ronaldo: The World at His Feet just in time to capitalize on World Cup mania. The film, narrated by actor Benedict Cumberbatch, tracks the famed Portuguese soccer icon and Laureus Award nominee from his humble beginnings to his run as Real Madrid’s star player and captain of Portugal’s national team, now competing in his third World Cup. That gives viewers worldwide a few days to study up on Ronaldo through Vimeo On Demand’s now-available digital release before he and his team face off against the U.S. squad on Sunday.
In a deal that highlights the immediate pay-off to filmmakers that Vimeo’s self-distribution offers, the film which was finished last week is already streaming worldwide for a $14.99 purchase or $4.99 rental. It’s been translated into Portuguese, French, Spanish, and German. Tara Pirina directed the film, snagging appearances and interviews with David Beckham, Pele, former Man U manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney, Gary Linekar, Sir Bobby Charlton, and Ronaldo himself. Tony Taglienti of Stax Entertainment produced the docu alongside director Pirina for Future Sight Entertainment. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s some hot superhero dish to take into the weekend. There are reports tonight that Peyton Reed and David Wain are being considered for Ant-Man, but man, we are progressing down the comedy director food chain, and this is starting to feel stale. So how about Doctor Strange? Marvel is putting together its cast list, and I’m hearing that Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch are on it. While Marvel has teased this property with mentions in films including Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the film solidified and felt urgent when Scott Derrickson tweeted this week that he will direct the script by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer.
Related: ‘Sinister’s Scott Derrickson To Direct ‘Doctor Strange’
The character has been around since the early 1960s, during that crazy period where just about all the spandex-clad heroes in all the Hollywood blockbusters were hatched at Marvel Comics headquarters (that might be a movie). Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created the character in 1963 as a neurosurgeon who serves as the Sorcerer Supreme, protecting Earth against magical and mystical threats with powers of sorcery, mysticism, and martial arts. Marvel’s Kevin Feige is producing. These two guys aren’t the only ones in the mix, but let’s face it, they are both poised to become major stars. Read More »
Things are moving forward on The Yellow Birds, the movie adaptation of Kevin Powers’ 2012 National Book Award finalist. Benedict Cumberbatch, Tye Sheridan and Will Poulter have come aboard the Iraq war drama, which is now being financed by Courtney Solomon and Mark Canton’s Cinelou Films via a deal with Story Mining & Supply Co. The pic revolves around a 21-year-old (Poulter), who promises the mother of a teen he meets in boot camp (Sheridan) that he will watch over the soldier as they are deployed to Iraq. Cumberbatch will play Sgt. Sterling, who takes the young men under his wing. Powers was an Army machine gunner in Iraq.
This was the first project on the books for Jeffrey Sharp and Jim Kohlberg when they launched their Story Mining & Supply Co last fall, with Kohlberg as chairman and Sharp president and CEO. Sharp and production president Evan Hayes brought in the book and hired Ain’t Them Bodies Saints‘ David Lowery to write and direct it. The Solution Entertainment Group is selling international rights in Cannes.
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In late March, BBC Director General Tony Hall announced the broadcaster’s greatest commitment to the arts in a generation. Part of the plans outlined at the time called for a further three filmed adaptations of Shakespeare’s History plays for BBC Two, including a new version of Richard III. Today, BBC Two confirmed on its Twitter feed that Benedict Cumberbatch will trade his kingdom for a horse as the titular king. The telefilm will be executive produced by Sam Mendes, produced by Downton Abbey‘s Rupert Ryle Hodges, written by Ben Power, and directed by former artistic director of the Royal Court Theatre Dominic Cooke in his screen directing debut. Cumberbatch, a Royal Court alum, said, “I can’t wait to work with Dominic Cooke again to bring this complex, funny and dangerous character to life.” The news comes as Cumberbatch is also gearing up for another Shakespearian lead: He’s playing Hamlet on stage in summer 2015 on the West End. Meanwhile, his Sherlock co-star, Martin Freeman, is also set to play Richard III, onstage at London’s Trafalgar Studios from July 1 to September 27 this year.
Benedict Cumberbatch will go from playing a high-functioning sociopath to a troubled Danish prince next summer in a West End production of Hamlet. The Sherlock star will play the eponymous Shakespeare character in a stage run at the Barbican Theatre for 12 weeks beginning in August 2015. The casting had been rumored previously, but was confirmed today by the Barbican as it announced its lineup for the 2014-2015 season. Tony Award winner Sonia Friedman is producing. Her long list of credits includes The Book Of Mormon and last year’s Tom Hanks-starrer Lucky Guy on Broadway, and this year’s Olivier-nominated Chimerica. That play’s Lyndsey Turner, who is one of three women up for the Best Director Olivier in a strong year for female theater helmers, will direct the new take on Hamlet. Cumberbatch was last on stage in London in the National Theatre’s 2011 production of Frankenstein which was directed by Danny Boyle and co-starred Jonny Lee Miller. He’s one of a handful of British screen stars who have recently tackled Shakespeare on the West End including Jude Law, up for an Olivier in Henry V, and David Tennant, who recently played Richard II.
Catch up on Deadline’s top film stories you missed this week:
James Franco’s Production Company Acquires Book About So-Bad-It’s-Good Cult Movie ‘The Room’
By The Deadline Team – James Franco’s Rabbit Bandini Productions has optioned book and life rights to The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the book published last fall by Simon & Schuster from actor Greg Sestero and journalist Tom Bissell.
BOX OFFICE: ‘Lego’ Blockbuster $69M+; ‘Monuments Men’ Solid Second; ‘Vampire Academy’ Has No Bite
By Anita Busch – The Lego Movie is in the record books as the biggest animated pic opener of all time for Warner Bros., surpassing Happy Feet which opened to $41.5M in 2006 (and went onto gross $384.3M worldwide). It’s also the biggest opener ever for the studio in February.
Universal Closes $1 Million Spec Deal For ‘Mena,’ 80s Drug Tale Ron Howard Will Direct
By Mike Fleming Jr. – EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures today closed a $1 million spec deal for Mena, a script by Gary Spinelli that has Ron Howard attached to direct.
Berlin Record Deal: Harvey Weinstein Pays $7 Million For Alan Turing WWII Tale ‘The Imitation Game’
By Mike Fleming Jr. – EXCLUSIVE: In what I am told will go down as the highest price paid ever for U.S. rights on a movie at the European Film Market, The Weinstein Company has locked a deal to pay $7 million for The Imitation Game, the Graham Moore Black List script that Morten Tyldum directed with Benedict Cumberbatch playing Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win WWII. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In what I am told will go down as the highest price paid ever for U.S. rights on a movie at the European Film Market, The Weinstein Company has locked a deal to pay $7 million for The Imitation Game, the Graham Moore Black List script that Morten Tyldum directed with Benedict Cumberbatch playing Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win WWII. Keira Knightley also stars in a film that will be shaped as a major release for the next awards season.
CAA brokered this deal based on a promo reel that had five bidders going after it hard before TWC just took it off the table, with the feeling that it has one of its major Oscar hopefuls for the next race. TWC currently has Philomena in the Best Picture race that will be decided next month.
Compared to the small sales of Sundance, this is a whopper. Harvey and Bob Weinstein and their team headed by COO David Glasser bested five competitors that sparked to a 15-minute compilation of scenes on a picture that has just gone into postproduction. The film also stars Mark Strong and Matthew Goode, and it’s produced by Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman. It was Schwarzman’s Black Bear Pictures label that took the risk on the film after Warner Bros let it go. The TWC acquisition team of Robert Walak, Negeen Yazdi and Dan Guando chased this script for a year. TWC’s Michal Steinberg closed the deal.
Related: Benedict Cumberbatch In Talks To Play Alan Turing In ‘The Imitation Game’
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Blood Mountain, the next picture from Mongol director Sergei Bodrov, has attached Sherlock‘s Benedict Cumberbatch to star in the tale of 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. Project was written by Jonathan W. Stokes with revisions by John Romano. Lawrence Bender, Nicola Horlick and James Gibb will produce. Shaun Redick is exec producing alongside Rachel Green of Derby Street Films and Brooklyn Weaver (Out Of The Furnace, upcoming Run All Night) of Energy Entertainment. Silver Reel will finance the film, with executives Claudia Bluemhuber and Ian Hutchinson also serving as executive producers on the project. Skady Lis of Germany’s Getaway Pictures will serve as a co-producer. Getaway will handle the European co-production of the film with the UK and the U.S. Principal photography is slated to begin in April in Morocco. Altitude Film Sales will rep international rights in Berlin next month. UTA Independent Film Group reps North American.
Benedict Cumberbatch came back to life as Sherlock Holmes in The Empty Hearse, the first episode of Season 3 of Sherlock which aired on BBC One on New Year’s Day. The 90-minute installment was the series’ most-watched episode ever in the UK. Overnight ratings show that 9.2M viewers tuned in to learn how the high-functioning sociopath faked his own death in the last episode of Season 2, The Reichenbach Fall — and to witness his reunion with Dr John Watson (Martin Freeman). The Empty Hearse drew a 33.8% share to be yesterday’s most-watched program, peaking at 9.7M viewers, while provisional figures also make it the the most-watched drama of the whole holiday period in the UK. The run-up to Sherlock‘s return has been frenzied, with the BBC providing a host of goodies to fans who have waited nearly two years to revisit the character. A mini-episode titled Many Happy Returns was released by the BBC online on Christmas Eve and as of December 31st had been viewed over 1.5M times across the BBC iPlayer and BBC Red Button with millions more watching on YouTube. The next 90-minute Sherlock Season 3 episode, The Sign Of Three, airs in the UK on January 5th. Season 3 begins in the U.S. on PBS on January 19th. Until then, beware abundant spoilers around the Web. Here’s another look at the interactive trailer for S3 that … Read More »
Sherlock returns to the BBC on New Year’s Day and to PBS on January 19 for three new 90-minute installments of the detective drama. As a pre-holiday treat, the BBC has posted a seven-minute mini-episode that provides some exposition for the new go-round. (The move is similar to the BBC’s tease of the 50th anniversary Doctor Who movie Day Of The Doctor last month.) The network also offers a new blog post by Dr John Watson promising it will be his last, as it’s time for him to “move on” (read it here). Watson (Martin Freeman) and Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade (Rupert Graves) feature in the mini-ep, titled “Many Happy Returns”, as does Benedict Cumberbatch‘s titular high-functioning sociopath — with a wink. Check it out:
In a sly publicity stunt in London this morning, the BBC confirmed the UK airdate for the return of hit detective drama Sherlock. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman will be back as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson on January 1, 2014 on BBC One; they return to PBS in the States a couple of weeks later on January 19th. The first episode in the new three-part series is titled The Empty Hearse, and this morning just such a vehicle made the rounds of some Sherlock shooting locations in the British capital, sending Twitter wild – and bringing confirmation of the news from the show’s producers. The hearse wasn’t entirely empty, though, since it contained a funereal floral arrangement spelling out the New Year’s return date which sees the series pick up two years after Holmes was last seen plummeting from St Bart’s Hospital in Season 2 finale, The Reichenbach Fall. Here’s a pic courtesy of the BBC:
When Sherlock was filming its third series earlier this year, producer Sue Vertue pleaded with fans not to post about the show’s daily locations. She made the move after pictures of stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman started popping up on the internet, leading to potential spoilers. Now, the BBC has released its own first official photo. Sherlock returns to U.S. television on January 19th in the 10 PM slot following Downton Abbey, PBS said last month. The BBC has not released its start date for the next three-episode installment of the crime series, but will air ahead of the U.S. The episodes promise to answer how Sherlock faked his own death in series 2 ender The Reichenbach Fall, and, how John Watson will take the news:
EXCLUSIVE: What’s going on with the two studio-backed movies titled Everest, about two spectacularly different incidents that took place on the same hill? Well let me tell you. Both films have weathered missteps, but the filmmakers behind each say they intend to scale the mountain soon. Everest, the Doug Liman-directed film at Sony, is now bent on starting production in March, and that meant losing Tom Hardy, who was going to play George Mallory, the famous British mountaineer who rallied a nation with his attempts to conquer Everest. Scheduling didn’t work with Hardy.
The front-runner to replace Hardy right now is Benedict Cumberbatch, but other actors in the mix to play Mallory and Australian rival George Finch include Joel Kinnaman, James McAvoy, Tom Hiddleston, Henry Cavill, Luke Evans, Dan Stevens, Matthew Goode, and Jim Sturgess. I’ve seen press speculation that Cumberbatch may have lost his luster because the Julian Assange pic The Fifth Estate failed at the box office, but that seems harsh. None of the current batch of emerging stars means much of anything at the box office, so the question becomes, is Cumberbatch an actor who elevates a film with his presence? The answer is a resounding yes, and he has Mallory’s regal bearing. The film is being produced by Jennifer Klein along with Liman and his Hypnotic partner Dave Bartis. Sheldon Turner … Read More »