The last time Geoffrey Household’s 1939 novel Rogue Male was adapted for the screen was in 1976, and Peter O’Toole was in the lead role.
Fast-forward 40 years and Benedict Cumberbatch is to star in and produce the survivalist thriller.
The story follows a hunter who tries to assassinate a dictator but instead is captured, tortured and left for dead. When he escapes back home to England, he must hide out in the countryside, exposed to the elements, with enemy agents as well as police on his tail.
In an interview with Radio Times in 1976, Household said that the dictator represented a famous historical figure: “although the idea for Rogue Male germinated from my intense dislike of Hitler, I did not actually name him in the book as things were a bit tricky at the time and I thought I would leave it open so that the target could be either Hitler or Stalin.”
It is not yet known who the dictator will represent in the new adaptation, but Cumberbatch will be producing the screenplay for Fox Searchlight with his company SunnyMarch. Macbeth writer Michael Leslie will pen the script.
“I am thrilled both as an actor and producer to be working on bringing this most treasured of English novels to the big screen,” Cumberbatch told The Hollywood Reporter.
The actor is currently busy filming the new series of Sherlock and will appear in Doctor Strange, which arrives in the UK on 28th October.