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Help! I need somebody. Help! Not just anybody. Help! I really need Benedict Cumberbatch to play Brian Epstein – longtime manager of The Beatles – in a planned biopic.
Thankfully, Tom Hanks agrees with the casting, for Cumberbatch has been hired to play Epstein in a Hanks-produced movie that’s making strides toward production, THR reports. Paul McGuigan, who helmed episodes of Cumberbatch’s Sherlock for the BBC, will direct the picture, which will be produced under Hanks' Playtone label. The trade says that it will tell the story of Epstein rather than being a Beatles story told through the manager’s point of view. Todd Graff penned the movie’s screenplay and Hanks will co-produce with Gary Goetzman.
So many threads are at play. Hanks, of course, directed his own ode to Beatlemania with the winning comedy That Thing You Do!, making his directorial debut. But Graff’s storyline reportedly will follow Epstein’s tragic story of closeted homosexuality and general isolation, despite being at the center of the largest “party” in pop culture history.
Cumberbatch’s Epstein film will likely race a rival picture -- The Fifth Beatle -- to theaters. That one, from writer-director Vivek J. Tiwary, has already secured rights to use Beatles songs. If you can't use the music making a solid Epstein film could be challenging, but having Cumberbatch in your corner for any production instantly helps. The amazingly talented actor has a bevy of high-profile gigs on the horizon. He plays the villain in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness, he’s joining Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender in Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave, and he’ll film a part in August: Osage County with Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep (not to mention his role as Smaug the dragon in Peter Jackson's Hobbit movies).