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Benedict Cumberbatch’s ‘The Child in Time’ Set for Masterpiece, BBC One Debut

Variety logo Variety 2/15/2017 Oriana Schwindt
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Benedict Cumberbatch is turning Ian McEwan’s “The Child in Time” into a TV movie for BBC One and Masterpiece.

The project comes from the “Sherlock” and “Dr. Strange” star’s SunnyMarch TV shingle, and is a co-production between Masterpiece for BBC One and Pinewood Television and SunnyMarch TV. Cumberbatch will executive produce and star in the 90-minute film, with Stephen Butchard adapting McEwan’s novel and Julian Farino directing. Studiocanal serves as distributor.

The film will explore the dark territory of a marriage devastated by the loss of a child: Cumberbatch will play children’s author Stephen Lewis, who must cope with the sudden loss of his daughter, Kate. Kate’s absence sets Stephen and his wife on diverging paths as both struggle with an all-consuming grief. With the passage of time, a balance of sorts returns, until hope surfaces and triumphs unexpectedly.

“I read the novel years ago and it stayed with me — profound, beautiful, and very moving,” Cumberbatch said. “Only Ian McEwan could write about loss with such telling honesty.” Cumberbatch had previously starred in the film adaptation of McEwan’s “Atonement,” which garnered seven Oscar nominations.

“Masterpiece has been proud to showcase Benedict’s work for many years, and of course ‘Sherlock’ has been a fantastic gift to our audience,” said Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton. “To co-produce the first television drama out of his shop, SunnyMarch TV, with Pinewood Television is very gratifying.”

“I’m thrilled to have my novel in the hands of such a high level creative team,” said McEwan. “I have fond memories of Benedict playing a brilliant and key part in the movie adaptation of ‘Atonement.’ Now, it’s a great honor to have this actor of such immense resource, experience and subtlety in the lead role of ‘The Child in Time.'”

“The Child In Time” was commissioned by Piers Wenger, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning and Charlotte Moore, Director BBC Content, and will be produced by Pinewood Television and SunnyMarch TV and co-produced by Masterpiece for BBC One. Executive producers are Helen Gregory for Pinewood Television; Benedict Cumberbatch, Adam Ackland and David Boulter for SunnyMarch TV; Lucy Richer for the BBC; Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece; and Stephen Butchard. Masterpiece is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston.

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