Benedict Cumberbatch continues to fill his plate with charming roles for 2016, with a new announcement today stating that the actor has been cast as the voice of The Grinch for Illumination's 2017 animated remake of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The first reports of Universal and Illumination's plans to remake the animated films inspired by the iconic children's stories of Dr. Seuss, reporting that the movie was part of the line-up, and setting the film's release date for November 17, 2017.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas will be directed by new face Peter Candeland with Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri (who produced Horton Hears a Who! under Fox before launching Illumination with The Lorax under Universal) producing the film. Audrey Geisel, the widow of Dr. Seuss (whose real name was Theodor Geisel) will be serving as executive producer, as she has with every Dr. Seuss film to date on behalf of the late author's estate.
Cumberbatch is no stranger to the mic: his iconic portayal of Smaug and Sauron/The Necromancer in The Hobbit's film trilogy is only bested by footage of his motion capture work. While the actor seems to have the Surly Antagonist archetype down, his comedic background in voice work was most recently highlighted in Penguins of Madagascar, where he portrayed Agent Classified. He's set to rumble again as Shere Khan in Andy Serkis' adaptation of The Jungle Book. While Cumberbatch is a seasoned pro, director Peter Candleland will be tackling new frontiers as the film's director. He comes from an animation background, serving on the teams behind hit '90s classics like Balto, Tank Girl, and several shorts by the Gorillaz. He is best known for his work in music videos, and under Illumination's guidance, this will be his first moment in the director's chair.
While Illumination's effort may not be the makings of a full film franchise, its modest delivery of The Lorax was still less critically panned than Universal's live-action interpretations of How The Grinch Stole Christmas and The Cat in the Hat. Despite their less-than-favorable receptions, though, both of the latter films made over $100 million.
The Grinch is arguably much more of an iconic and recognizable character than his newly animated predecessors, the original book is still circulating in print today. A classic holiday release around the film was expected, but otherwise, details on this remake are slim, outside of the fact that it is likely to adapt a 3D format.
After wowing fans in the trailer for Doctor Strange last week, Cumberbatch has moved directly forward into filming the next season of Sherlock for the BBC - making this announcement nothing short of a cherry on top to a wildly successful week for the actor.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas is set for release on November 17, 2017.