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Casting Watch: Cumberbatch To Play Beatles Manager Brian Epstein, Helmed by 'Sherlock' Director Paul McGuigan

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood November 1, 2012 at 12:40PM

Benedict Cumberbatch 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.
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Benedict Cumberbatch

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."

This article is related to: Benedict Cumberbatch, News, CASTING WATCH


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.