While the recent rumours linking Benedict Cumberbatch to Star Wars Episode VII were shot down quicker than an X-Wing diving into a Death Star trench, we do now know he’s pencilling in one more job into the diary, entering negotiations to star in James Gray’s The Lost City Of Z.
This is one of those projects that has been hacking through the development undergrowth for ages now, with Brad Pitt and his Plan B production company spearheading the adaptation of David Grann’s bestseller. Pitt had long planned to star, but is now apparently happy for someone else to go exploring.
Assuming he makes a deal (and “negotiations” rather than “talks” signifies that could be imminent), Cumberbatch will play Percy Fawcett, who headed into Brazil’s Amazon jungles on a mapping quest in 1925. There, suffering from a nasty case of malaria, he claimed to have discovered a mythical city he called the Lost City Of Z.
When his adventurer peers roundly mocked the idea as a fantasy or fraud, Fawcett gathered up his son and one other companion and headed back into the jungle to prove his point. And that’s the last anyone saw of all three…
Gray wrote the most recent version of the script and will call the shots. Cumberbatch will be this year’s festival and awards-season MVP with 12 Years A Slave, August: Osage County and The Fifth Estate all screening, and he’s back on genre duty for The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug on December 13.