Benedict Cumberbatch to star in film adaptation of Rogue Male…
Benedict Cumberbatch is to star in a new film adaptation of Rogue Male, the 1939 novel that is widely seen as the forerunner to the modern action thriller.
The book, written by Geoffrey Household, follows the story of an Englishman who is brutally tortured after being caught trying to assassinate an unnamed European dictator, before fleeing to England and going to ground in rural Dorset.
Cumberbatch, who described the book as “the most treasured of English novels”, will also produce the film, which is set to go into production in late 2017.
The Sherlock star will step into the shoes of Peter O’Toole, who played the lead role in a 1977 BBC adaptation of the book, which was also made into the 1941 Hollywood film, Man Hunt.
Household, an Oxford graduate whose career included a stint as a banana salesman, published the novel months before the Second World War broke out.
While the dictator who was the subject of the book’s failed assassination attempt was not identified in the novel, the author has said that he intended the character to be seen as Adolf Hitler.
In the book, the main character is thrown off a cliff after being caught trying to murder the dictator. He survives, but flees to England, pursued by agents of the European state.
After murdering one of the agents by throwing him onto the tracks of the London Underground, the character hides underground in rural Dorset, where he is later discovered.
Michael Lesslie, who adapted Macbeth, starring Michael Fassbender, for the big screen, is writing the screenplay for Rogue Male.
A spokesman for Cumberbatch said: “Benedict is attached as producer and to star. The film is in currently in development and they are working on a script. As yet there is no director, but hoping to go into production later next year.”