Cumberbatch Will Be Brian Epstein

In a biopic for Paul McGuigan

For years, people have been developing films about the so-called “fifth Beatle.” No, not Stuart Sutcliffe: manager Brian Epstein. Now director Paul McGuigan has recruited his Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch to play the iconic music maestro.

Todd Graff is responsible for the script, which will focus more on Epstein than the Beatles, including his troubled personal life of gambling and drug addictions, his closeted lifestyle and the contradiction between his private world and the Beatlemania that grew around his most famous clients.

According to Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, who are producing the film with their Playtone company, the script will aim to tell the story of “the man who threw the biggest party of the 1960s but ultimately forgot to invite himself.”

Cumberbatch seems like a solid shout as he bears a slight resemblance to Epstein and also has the chops to make the role work. He’ll next be seen in such tiny art house releases as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Star Trek Into Darkness.

McGuigan’s project isn’t the only new arrival on the Epstein scene: according to The Hollywood Reporter, Vivek J Tiwary is also working up a film version of his graphic novel The Fifth Beatle. He’s scored a big win on the Beatles front, as he’s secured the rights to include some of the band’s songs.