The future of Sherlock may be uncertain, but Benedict Cumberbatch has plenty of titles to pad his resume as fans wait for a season 5 decision. Already on his docket for 2017 are historical bio flick The Current War and superhero blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok, the follow-up to 2013’s Thor: The Dark World and 2011’s Thor. For 2018, he’s attached to Avengers: Infinity War, Jungle Book, and Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Over on the small screen, he’s also at work on The Child In Time, a 90-minute TV movie adaptation of Ian McEwan’s award-winning 1987 novel of the same name. He’s set to star as Stephen Lewis as well as executive produce, marking one of his first major stints in such a role. Now, he’s bolstering both his on and off-screen credits with yet another upcoming acting-producing role.
Variety reports that Cumberbatch will star in Melrose, a new limited series from Showtime and Sky Atlantic. The five-part drama is based on a string of semi-autobiographical novels by Edward St. Aubyn. They follow the character of Patrick Melrose (Cumberbatch), a man who makes a “harrowing odyssey from a deeply traumatic childhood through adult substance abuse and, ultimately, toward recovery.” According to Deadline, Melrose is “an aristocratic and outrageously funny playboy” who struggles to overcome the trauma inflicted by a terribly abusive father and a mother who stood by silently as it happened. Each episode will cover one novel and a few intense days in Melrose’s life. The time frame spans the south of France in the 1960s, New York in the 1980s, and London in the early 2000s.
David Nicholls (Far From the Madding Crowd, One Day) will write all five episodes. Cumberbatch will executive produce alongside Adam Ackland, his production partner in SunnyMarch, and Rachael Horovitz (Moneyball) and Michael Jackson. The show will begin shooting in New York, London and the South of France in August.
Though one of Aubyn’s books — Mother’s Milk, starring Jack Davenport as Melrose — was already adapted for film in 2012, the movie flew largely under the radar, and Cumberbatch has proved himself as a versatile and powerful performer capable of bringing something fresh to the part. It’s also a passion project of sorts: when asked in 2013 who he would play if he could choose any literary character ever, Cumberbatch shared in a Reddit Q&A that it would be Patrick Melrose. If Melrose is anything like flourishing miniseries such as The Night Manager, American Crime, and the similarly titled The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Melrose could very well be a breakout hit.