Benedict Cumberbatch will play the mastermind of Britain's Brexit campaign, Dominic Cummings, in a Channel 4 drama about the EU referendum. This "knotty, topical" drama is due to air early next year, shortly before Britain leaves the EU in March.
In 2016, the British public voted to leave the European Union after a popular referendum. Like many in the UK entertainment industry, Benedict Cumberbatch was by no means silent during the campaign; he was one of 250 stars to sign an open letter supporting Remain. "Britain is not just stronger in Europe," the letter read, "it is more imaginative and more creative, and our global creative success would be severely weakened by walking away." In spite of this interview, Britain voted for Brexit by a narrow majority of 52%, and the last two years have seen British political figures carefully assess how that happened.
Dominic Cummings was a key figure in the EU Referendum. He was leader of the official Vote Leave campaign, and his role has been carefully examined by journalists such as Tim Shipman and political pundits like Craig Oliver. Channel 4 has commissioned a TV movie partly inspired by these accounts, and Cumberbatch has signed up to play Cummings, according to The Guardian.
Cumberbatch made his debut on British television, but in recent years he's stepped up to become a major Hollywood star. He played Smaug in The Hobbit, Khan in Star Trek: Into Darkness, and most popularly Doctor Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Although Cumberbatch's career is going from strength to strength, he's still willing to take on TV projects, and in this case he faces possibly the most controversial one to date.
Cummings's role in the EU referendum is currently under a significant degree of scrutiny. There are allegations that Vote Leave broke spending rules, and MPs have formally requested that he attend a select committee in order to answer questions. The Brexit drama will be written by James Graham, an award-winning writer responsible for political plays such as This House and Ink. According to Channel 4's new director of programmes, Ian Katz, it's a "knotty, topical" film that is part of a new and diverse range of products.
The problem with scripting such a topical drama, of course, is that the Brexit campaigns are still in the news. The Electoral Commission is currently investigating Vote Leave's activities during the referendum, while rival Leave campaign "Leave.EU" was recently fined £70,000 for a breach of electoral law and referred to the police. Two years on from the referendum, the outcome is still very much a live issue in British politics, and the script will most definitely be subject to change. There's a real danger that, within days of airing, such a topical movie will actually already be out of date as more news breaks.
Source: The Guardian