The film set up at StudioCanal is based on a book by David Fisher about British illusionist Jasper Maskelyne
Benedict Cumberbatch is set to star in the World War II film “War Magician,” with “Jurassic World” director Colin Trevorrow attached to direct.
Though Cumberbatch has flexed his magic skills as Marvel’s Doctor Strange, this next film will cast him as a British soldier who uses his skills as an illusionist to fight in World War II. “War Magician” is based on a book by David Fisher and is based on the real life story of Jasper Maskelyne, who was a world famous magician in the 1930s but is best known today for his work in the war, where he claimed to create large scale ruses, camouflage and deception as a means of defeating the Nazis.
The book in particular shows how he managed to “hide” the Suez Canal from German bombers or made fake portable craters — or “bomb holes” — to make the enemy think they hit their target. And though Maskelyne was a real person, it’s unclear just how much of his story — or of Fisher’s book — is actually true.
Tom Cruise and Peter Weir were at one point working on a film about the life of Maskelyne back in 2003, and Cumberbatch was first attached to “The War Magician” back in 2015, though without a director involved.
Nicholas Mariani is writing the screenplay based on Fisher’s book, with earlier drafts written by Richard Cordiner and Gary Whitta.
Cumberbatch is also producing “War Magician” along with Leah Clarke and Adam Ackland for SunnyMarch, as is Trevvorow for his Metronome Films. Landscape Entertainment’s Bob Cooper, Lonetree’s Tony Eldridge and Knight Errant’s Richard Saperstein are also producing.
StudioCanal’s Ron Halpern and Shana Eddy are overseeing the project with Metronome’s Jeff Gernert and Annys Hamilton.
Trevorrow recently wrapped filming on “Jurassic World: Dominion,” the third film in the rebooted “Jurassic Park” franchise. Cumberbatch was just seen in “The Mauritanian.
Trevorrow is represented by Verve.
Deadline first reported news of Trevorrow’s attachment.
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