Benedict Cumberbatch is set to play Brian Epstein in an upcoming big screen biopic of The Beatles manager’s life, RadioTimes.com can confirm.
The as-yet untitled project is to be produced by Tom Hanks and will re-united Cumberbatch with fellow Sherlock alumnus Paul McGuigan, who as well as directing the hit BBC show has previously stepped behind the camera on feature films including Wicker Park and Push.
Described by Paul McCartney as “the fifth Beatle”, Epstein signed the band in 1961 and managed them through the height of Beatlemania until his death from an accidental drug overdose in 1967. It is understood the film will largely focus on Epstein’s life rather than solely on his relationship with the band, tackling his gambling and drug addictions as well as his homosexuality, which was still illegal in the UK at the time of his death.
The project isn’t the only current film based on Epstein’s life. Another big screen production is in the works from author Vivek J Tiwary who it was announced earlier this month will write and produce an adaptation of his upcoming graphic novel, The Fifth Beatle, which chronicles Epstein’s life.
There is no news yet on when work will get under way on the McGuigan film. However, before shooting starts Cumberbatch will have to work his way through a packed dancecard that already includes Steve McQueen’s Shame follow-up Twelve Years a Slave, as well as a third series of BBC’s Sherlock, expected to begin filming in January.