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Benedict Cumberbatch to Star in ‘How to Stop Time,’ Studiocanal, SunnyMarch Attached

Variety logo Variety 3/14/2017 Leo Barraclough
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Benedict Cumberbatch is attached to star in “How to Stop Time,” an adaptation of Matt Haig’s forthcoming novel, whose film rights have been acquired by Cumberbatch’s production company SunnyMarch and Studiocanal.

Cumberbatch will executive produce through SunnyMarch, alongside Jamie Byng, CEO of Canongate Books, which is publishing the book in July. Studiocanal is fully financing and will distribute in their territories, U.K., France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand, and will be handling international sales.

The novel tells the story of Tom Hazard (Cumberbatch), a man who may look like an ordinary 41-year-old but, owing to an extremely rare condition, has been alive for centuries. It is “a wildly imagined love story that spans centuries and continents, and cements Haig’s reputation as one of the most original and exciting novelists of his generation,” according to a statement.

“How to Stop Time” is the first adult novel in four years by Haig, the bestselling author whose books have been translated into more than 30 languages. Haig’s most recent children’s book, “The Girl Who Saved Christmas,” was published in late 2016 in more than 20 countries and is the sequel to his critically acclaimed hit “A Boy Called Christmas.” Studiocanal and Blueprint Pictures acquired screen rights to the series in 2015, and have been fast-tracking development of a feature film adaptation.

Haig’s other books include his memoir “Reasons to Stay Alive,” which stayed in the Sunday Times’ top-10 bestseller list for 46 weeks, and “The Humans.” He also worked in a screenwriting capacity on Heyday Films and Studiocanal’s 2014 hit “Paddington.”

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