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Benedict Cumberbatch Heads To 'The Lost City Of Z' With James Gray

by Kevin Jagernauth
September 4, 2013 4:41 PM
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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...

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  • Camille | September 5, 2013 1:49 AMReply

    The Immigrant is a great movie with an amazing performance of Marion Cotillard that must be awarded with an Oscar nomination, even win!

  • droop | September 4, 2013 7:28 PMReply

    Fuuuck, sounds amazing amazing. Hadn't read a synopsis before now. I love jungle movies, the setting is so sinister and atmospheric (Apocalypse Now, Aguirre, Predator, The Mission), and god knows Gray will shoot the shit out of this. Will certainly look amazing. I'm not the biggest fan of Cumberbatch, can't say I've seen him in anything where I've thought "damn, he's really good", but considering the director's he's been working with lately I know he can deliver.

  • Northern Star | September 4, 2013 7:14 PMReply

    In an increasingly stale industry dominated by superheroes, zombies, and pointless remakes, this is a project DEFINITELY worth looking forward to... the real-life story behind it is absolutely fascinating and Benedict Cumberbatch isn't too dissimilar from the actual person he's portraying either! I'll be keeping a close eye con this intruiging project...

  • Nolan | September 4, 2013 5:31 PMReply

    It'll be weird to see Cumberbatch playing a role that involves him having adult children, but it's a good book and a great story and hopefully it works out.

  • Stephen B | September 4, 2013 5:10 PMReply

    This is an amazing story (and book) and I hope Gray does it justice. It will be way different and way bigger than anything he's ever done. Not sure Cumberbatch is who I saw playing Fawcett (who was something of a real life Indiana Jones), but I have faith in his acting abilities to surprise me.

  • yer | September 4, 2013 5:07 PMReply

    How does tumblr feel about this?

  • Kae | September 4, 2013 5:33 PM

    Going by the projects he has done, he never seemed to pick any project based on part of his fanbase's liking; he's his own man. If he has chosen projects according to Tumblr, he'd have walked around naked in porn movies forever.

  • Alex Porter | September 4, 2013 4:54 PMReply

    Nice schooling of the tards on page 1. You guys were smart to stay away from those dumb rumors.

  • Jane22 | September 4, 2013 4:48 PMReply

    Very interesting project! Glad to see that Cumberbatch still has a good head on his shoulders. Hope this is a done deal soon seeing the funding won't be an issue. Also, the Star Wars villain rumor surely should die down now.

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