It's been an interesting couple of years for Benedict Cumberbatch. Though still best known for playing a string of intelligent, upper-class English characters, he's made a successful foray into the sci-fi action genre with Star Trek Into Darkness, has played two inhuman villains in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and tackled the controversial issue of whistleblowing in his role as Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate.
Cumberbatch is continuing to gravitate towards more highbrow characters, starring the third season of BBC's Sherlock, playing Alan Turing in the upcoming biopic The Imitation Game, and signing on to play a British explorer in The Lost City of Z. However, it seems that the actor hasn't lost his taste for more action-oriented fare either.
Variety reports that Cumberbatch is set to star in the ominously-titled Blood Mountain, a new thriller directed by Sergei Bodrov (Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan, The Seventh Son) from a script by Jonathan W. Stokes (El Gringo) with revisions by John Romano (The Lincoln Lawyer).
It's unclear whether or not the title of the film refers to the mountain peak on the Appalachian Trail; according to the synopsis, Blood Mountain is about a private military contractor who is tasked with escorting one of the world's most wanted terrorists over hostile terrain, after his entire special forces team is ambushed and killed. Unwilling to give up the bounty, the contractor perseveres with the mission even as he is beset by both insurgents and rival mercenaries - as well as the man in his custody.
As far as set-ups go it has a lot of potential, and it's good to see Cumberbatch continuing to go for a diverse range of projects. Principal photography on Blood Mountain is expected to begin in Morocco in April, and the film will be shopped to international buyers at the European Film Market in Berlin next month. With a big name like Cumberbatch attached to star, the producers shouldn't have too much trouble finding a distributor.
Blood Mountain doesn't have a fixed release date yet, but will most likely arrive in theaters in 2015.