By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist September 4, 2013 at 4:41PM
The Internet has been a funny place the last few days. Over the long weekend, "Star Wars" fans worked themselves up into a lather when rumors began circulating that Benedict Cumberbatch was certain to be cast in "Star Wars: Episode 7" based on his exit from Guillermo Del Toro's "Crimson Peak," supposed confirmation from a site with no track record for scoops, combined with vague reasoning that Lucasfilm likes to put out press releases on Tuesdays. Well, Tuesday came and went with nothing from the "Star Wars" camp but we now see what may have lured Cumberbatch away from Del Toro's project.
Deadline reports Cumberbatch is set to star in director James Gray's long-developing adaptation of David Grann's "The Lost City Of Z." For those of you that remember, Gray once had the film lined up with Brad Pitt slated to star, before it fell apart as the director reportedly battled Paramount over his pay for the gig, while Pitt absconded to make "Killing Them Softly." But it's a film that Gray has kept on the back burner, hoping to return to.
"I have people who are willing to make the film, I have the money to make it; I don’t have an actor. Because its very specific—it’s a British man, mid-40s and that’s hard to pair up with the budget that I need," he told us earlier this year at Cannes."I have people that want to make it, I just have to get the actor. It’s certainly a dream of mine to make the film. I think it’s the best script I’ve written. But the size of it is huge, the scale."
Well, he certainly has his man now. The epic-sized film will tell the story of English soldier-turned-explorer Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett, whose obsession with the Amazon and belief that an ancient civilization resided there led him on many expeditions where he narrowly escaped death. After financing eventually dried up, Fawcett self-funded one last adventure into the Amazon with his son, from which neither returned.
Pitt is still on board to produce (side note: he is also a producer on "12 Years A Slave," which also features Cumberbatch). No word yet on when it might roll in front of cameras, but with financing in place and a star now in negotiations, this looks good to go. It's a happy ending to a project that seemed it might be forever lost in the depths of development.
At any rate, it's another gig on Gray's quickly growing slate, which also includes the Boston crime drama "White Devil," the thriller "The Gray Man" and a brewing sci-fi flick. As for his upcoming "The Immigrant"? Still no release date from The Weinstein Company...