American filmmaker Wes Anderson has signed on to direct an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar”, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, for Netflix. Alongside Cumberbatch, the film also stars Ralph Fiennes, Dev Patel and Ben Kingsley. The production on the project is expected to start this month in London.
According to Variety, first published in 1977, “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More” is a collection of seven short stories crafted by British author Dahl for older children. Cumberbatch will play Henry Sugar, the protagonist of the titular story, which poses the question – “If you could see with your eyes closed…would you use your power for good or for personal gain?”
The news of the project follows the streamer’s acquisition of the Roald Dahl Story Company in September 2021, when plans were announced for the development of an extensive universe of animated and live-action film and television projects (including a series based on the world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from Taika Waititi and Phil Johnston), as well as publishing, games, immersive experiences, live theater and consumer products.
The project will mark Wes Anderson’s second outing with Dahl’s classic works after the filmmaker crafted The Fantastic Mr. Fox into a stop-motion film in 2009 and co-wrote the screenplay with Noah Baumbach. The best animated feature Oscar nominee also boasted an A-list voice cast, including George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Willem Dafoe, Michael Gambon and Bill Murray.
Benedict Cumberbatch, on the other hand, is also no stranger to bringing iconic pieces of literature to life, having earned an Emmy award for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock) and voicing Smaug (in The Hobbit trilogy), the Grinch (in the 2018 animated film) and Shere Khan (Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle).
Most recently, Cumberbatch has garnered Oscar buzz for his leading performance as Phil Burbank in Jane Campion’s adaptation of the acclaimed novel “The Power of the Dog.” He was previously nominated for best actor for 2014’s The Imitation Game. The actor is also a comic book icon after taking up the mantle of Marvel’s Dr. Stephen Strange in 2016 and appearing in six MCU films, including Spider-Man: No Way Home and the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.