Benedict Cumberbatch ("War Horse," "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," "Atonement") has signed on to play Brian Epstein in a biopic about the Beatles' longtime manager. Paul McGuigan, who's directed Cumberbatch in a number of "Sherlock" episodes, will helm the Epstein project.
The film is from a script by Todd Graff, focusing on Epstein's tumultuous personal life of gambling and drug addiction, set against the backdrop of history's biggest pop culture mania. Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman of Playtone will produce. No word yet on a title, but it won't be "The Fifth Beatle," as that's already taken for another Epstein project in the works, a film adaptation from Vivek J. Tiwary of the graphic novel. (That project reportedly already has some music rights secured -- a coup.)
Fitting that Cumberbatch would sign on for a project related to the Beatles, as the actor has proven to be a phenomenon in his own right, with a Cumberbitches fan club of at least 37,000 members dedicated to him as a "high cheekboned, blue-eyed sex bomb."