Benedict Cumberbatch may have earned himself plenty of new fans with his portrayal of the titular hero in Doctor Strange, but he previously garnered a wealth of accolades for portraying real-life figures. He earned his first career Oscar nomination for his portrayal of World War II code breaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. He also played Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate, Billy Bulger in Black Mass, and Stephen Hawking in British TV movie Hawking.
Despite a strong performance as Dr. Stephen Strange (and more films lined up for the Marvel Cinematic Universe), Cumberbatch isn’t done portraying historical figures. He’s set to appear as legendary inventor Thomas Edison in The Current War. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), the movie will follow Edison and his squabbles with engineer/businessman George Westinghouse over the use of direct or alternating currents to power American homes in the 1880s.
The Wrap posted the first look at Cumberbatch as Edison on Saturday, depicting the inventor of the light bulb, ironically, in a decidedly dimly lit house. Cumberbatch is seen wearing the distinctive black suit and bow tie that the inventor wore in many historical photos.
It remains to be seen how the rest of the cast of The Current War will look, but they will likely be historically accurate if the appearance of Cumberbatch as Edison is any indication. The Current War also stars Michael Shannon (Man of Steel) as George Westinghouse, Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Homecoming) as British-American business magnate Samuel Insull, and Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road) as Nikola Tesla.
With filming well underway, The Current War has a lot going for it right now. Cumberbatch tops a strong cast with a mix of veterans and rising stars, and the quality of Edison’s suit indicates high production values and a promising amount of attention to detail from Gomez-Rejon and his crew. Even if the rest of the movie doesn’t measure up to Cumberbatch’s considerable talents, the star can reasonably be expected to deliver a strong performance.
Of course, Cumberbatch alone can’t carry The Current War. Even a movie based on true historical events still needs to tell a compelling story with coherent writing (not to mention a strong box office draw) to be considered a success. There will be a lot riding on how the script by Michael Mitnick (The Giver) comes out. But there is still plenty of talent involved with The Current War and the first photo of Cumberbatch as Edison will certainly excite fans for his performance.
The Current War has no release date but is expected in 2017.
Source: The Wrap