〉The script was featured on the 2012 Hit List.
Benedict Cumberbatch is set to join The Weinstein Company’s THE CURRENT WAR. The biopic, penned by The Giver writer Michael Mitnick, was featured on the 2012 HIT LIST and 2011 Black List before being set up with The Weinstein Co. in 2012. Cumberbatch is set to portray famed inventor Thomas Edison in the pic, which chronicles the true story behind the direct/alternate current debate and follows the intense rivalry between inventors Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse as they battled to be the first to commercially implement a practical system of electricity.
Timur Bekmambetov will produce via his shingle Bazelevs Productions, along with Steven Zaillian and Garrett Basch producing under their Film Rites banner. Harvey Weinstein will also produce, while Julie Rapaport and Collin Creighton will oversee for The Weinstein Co. Ben Stiller and Bekmambetov were both previously attached to direct in different instances, with no director currently on board.
The film will follow the events known as the “War of Currents,” which took place in the late 1880’s between Edison, who backed his direct current for electrical distribution, and Westinghouse who promoted alternating current. The rivalry got so intense that Edison launched a smear campaign against Westinghouse in an attempt to highlight the safety issues with alternating current. Edison lobbied against AC in state legislatures, spread disinformation on “fatal AC accidents,” and even went so far as to publicly execute animals through electrocution. Edison’s efforts were naught however, as alternating current prevailed as the superior and cost-effective system, yet his demonstrations led to the invention of the electric chair and his direct current is still used in nearly all modern electronic devices today.
Cumberbatch was recently nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of cryptanalyst Alan Turing in The Weinstein Co.’s renowned biopic The Imitation Game. Last year, the acclaimed actor also lent his voice to The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and the animated children’s comedy Penguins of Madagascar.
Up next, he’s set to voice Shere Khan in Andy Serkis’ Jungle Book: Origins and play the supernatural superhero Dr. Strange in the upcoming titular Marvel blockbuster. He’s also set to return as his iconic interpretation of Sherlock Holmes for the fourth season of the BBC’s wildly popular contemporary reinvention series Sherlock, which will likely film this year.
Clark Allen | Associate Editor