Benedict Cumberbatch will return to the small screen with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy director Tomas Alfredson in tow. The two will adapt the bestselling novel How to Stop Time for Studiocanal.
The Hollywood Reporter has the news that the 2017 Matt Haig (A Boy Called Christmas) novel will be adapted into a six-part miniseries, with Cumberbatch playing the lead role of Tom Hazard. Hazard is a seemingly-normal man who secretly suffers from the rare disease anageria, causing him to age extremely slowly. When the novel opens, Hazard is centuries old, and is a member of a secret society of fellow immortals, who have banded together to protect themselves from persecution. However, that group has certain rules, and Hazard is about to violate the first one: never fall in love. Part spy thriller, and part love story, the novel was acquired by Studiocanal some time ago, and was originally slated for a film adaptation. Says Cumberbatch, “When I first read How to Stop Time, the potential of this story was immediately obvious. In his inimitable style, Matt once again explores what it is to be human and what it is to live a life — a very long one in this case — with pathos, insight, humor, drama and inspiration.”
The scion of a British acting family, Cumberbatch broke out in the UK and America on the BBC series Sherlock, playing a modernized incarnation of the iconic detective. He has since starred in a variety of productions, including The Other Boleyn Girl, Star Trek Into Darkness, 12 Years a Slave, and The Electrical Life of Louis Wain. He has been nominated for two Academy Awards; in 2015 for playing computing pioneer Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, and in 2022 for Jane Campion‘s revisionist western The Power of the Dog. He has also appeared in a number of Marvel Cinematic Universe productions as the sorcerer Doctor Stephen Strange, most recently in last year’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. He can next be seen in Wes Anderson‘s adaptation of Roald Dahl‘s The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, in which he will play the title character, as well as the biblical drama The Book of Clarence and the Jodie Comer disaster film The End We Start From. Swedish director Anderson had an international hit with the vampire drama Let the Right One In, and followed that up with the well-received John le Carré adaptation Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which also starred Cumberbatch; unfortunately, his subsequent film was the disastrous adaptation of Jo Nesbø‘s Scandinavian murder mystery The Snowman.
British playwright and TV writer DC Moore (Killing Eve, the upcoming Julianne Moore historical drama Mary and George) is attached to write How to Stop Time. It will be produced by venerable British studio Studiocanal, and by Cumberbatch‘s production shingle Sunnymarch.
How to Stop Time will shoot in London and Europe next year. Stay tuned to Collider for future updates.