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Benedict Cumberbatch is going to have a very good Toronto International Film Festival this year. Not only does he star in three high-profile premieres -- festival opener "The Fifth Estate," buzzy historical drama "12 Years a Slave," and "August: Osage County," which won a Pulitzer when it was on Broadway despite being saddled with arguably the worst name for anything ever -- but he's poised to line up his next gig, and it's a doozy. Deadline reports that Cumberbatch is in negotiations to star in James Gray's "The Lost City of Z," based on the amazing nonfiction book by New Yorker staffer David Grann.
Cumberbatch would play Percy Fawcett, a strange and enigmatic British explorer who in 1925 discovered a lost civilization deep in the Brazilian jungles. While his peers and fellow intellectuals dismissed his claims, Fawcett remained undeterred and mounted a second expedition into the heart of darkness. This time, he was never heard from again, and Fawcett's fate remains a huge source of mystery (he was on the expedition with a small team that included his son). Grann, in the book, attempts to piece together the puzzle of Fawcett's disappearance and even tries to retrace the man's footsteps. It's a fascinating, gripping read.
An earlier version of the movie had been mounted with Brad Pitt as Fawcett, and while that iteration fell apart due to scheduling delays and financial woes, Pitt will stay on as a producer through his Plan B banner. Gray, whose latest film "The Immigrant" was nominated for the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival, has said that his script for "Lost City of Z" is the best thing he's ever written, which makes us endlessly excited.
While we're somewhat disappointed Cumberbatch won't appear in Guillermo del Toro's gothic romance "Crimson Peak," this would be a fine replacement. It's going to be great, people.