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Benedict Cumberbatch to star in ‘Rogue Male’ adaptation

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Benedict Cumberbatch

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch will star in and co-produce the big screen adaptation of classic British novel “Rogue Male”.

Michael Lesslie (‘Macbeth’, ‘Assassin’s Creed’) has been hired to write the screenplay for the project, which is set up at Fox Searchlight, said The Hollywood Reporter.

The 40-year-old “Sherlock” star will produce the film with Lloyd Levin, Branwen Prestwood Smith and Beatriz Levin of Black Sheep Pictures. Also producing will be Adam Ackland of SunnyMarch, Cumberbatch’s production company.

The survivalist thriller told of a hunter who attempts to assassinate a dictator but is caught, tortured and left for dead. When he escapes back home to England, he must hide out in a harsh countryside with the enemy agents as well as the police in hot pursuit.

“I am thrilled both as an actor and producer to be working on bringing this most treasured of English novels to the big screen,” said Cumberbatch, who read the novel several years ago.

“Rogue Male” was published in 1939 and the author, Geoffrey Household, said the dictator was intended to be a stand-in for Adolph Hitler.

The novel has fascinated directors and actors since the day it came out. Twentieth Century Fox adapted it in 1940 as “Man Hunt”, directed by Fritz Lang and starring Walter Pidgeon (and with Hitler as the dictator) and Peter O’Toole starred in a BBC production made for television in 1977.

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