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While his House of Cards TV wife Robin Wright is headed for real-world drama around Mount Everest, Kevin Spacey is also going into the past for his next role. Sierra/Affinity has announced they will be producing and financing the feature Captain of the Gate, a biopic centered on former British Prime Minister and all-around iconic figure Winston Churchill, and Spacey will don the signature Homburg hat for the role. Because no one plays a U.K. leader like an American, right?
The Captain of the Gate screenplay is the first feature from Ben Kaplan, who has worked on historically-minded projects in the past such as 2009’s WWII in HD and 2011’s Vietnam in HD, both for the History Channel. He was also a story editor for When Melrose Place Ruled the World, which is almost certainly how he got this job. No director has been found yet, but Sierra/Affinity is on the prowl and I’m guessing the addition of Spacey will attract a top-tier list of filmmakers - as though a Churchill film isn’t enough of a draw.
According to THR, Captain of the Gate will focus on Churchill’s ascent to power in the early 1940s during his first stint as P.M., as he "stood against parliament to defend Britain and the world from Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich." Film descriptions don’t get much more exciting than ones where Hitler is the enemy. It’s unclear if this pic will go into Churchill’s second term as Prime Minister from 1951-1955, but there’s more than enough drama from his first four years to make a trilogy.
You can bet we’ll be seeing Spacey spout off the memorable "Masters of Our Fate" speech seen below.
Production company StudioCanal, most recently responsible for Liam Neeson’s Non-Stop and the upcoming Paddington adaptation, are in early talks to join the list of producers, which also includes Lila 9th Productions and Zero Gravity. It’s not out of the question to think StudioCanal would distribute as well, since that’s their normal M.O.
Spacey’s feature career has been pretty quiet in the last few years, which is fine, since his excellent turn as House of Cards mastermind Frank Underwood (for which he earned Emmy and Golden Globe nominations) would have just upstaged everything else anyway. He’s currently filming Sean Anders’ sequel Horrible Bosses 2, reprising the jerkass role of Dave Harken, and will soon be self-distributing the documentary NOW: In the Wings on a World Stage, which chronicles Spacey’s team-up with his American Beauty director Sam Mendes for the stage play Richard III.