Benedict Cumberbatch to Star in Netflix’s ’39 Steps’ Limited Series

Benedict Cumberbatch
Courtesy of Jason Smith/Everett Collection

Netflix has ordered “The 39 Steps,” a limited series based on the 1915 John Buchan novel that will star Benedict Cumberbatch, with Edward Berger at the helm and Mark L. Smith writing.

The series will reunite Cumberbatch and Berger, who last worked together on Showtime’s 2018 mini-series “Patrick Melrose.” The at least six-hour series will be produced by Anonymous Content, Chapter One Pictures and SunnyMarch, the U.K.-based film and TV production company founded by Cumberbatch, Adam Ackland and Adam Selves.

“The 39 Steps” has already been adapted several times, most famously by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935, starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll. Buchan’s original spy thriller takes place just before the outset of World War I, centering on Richard Hannay, a man who comes into possession of a key to a global conspiracy and goes on the run.

Cumberbatch was most recently seen in “The Mauritanian,” and remains in the thick of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with this year’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and 2022’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” Berger recently directed three episodes of Showtime’s Bryan Cranston drama “Your Honor” and is directing “All Quiet on the Western Front.”

Netflix has had success in attracting eyeballs to its limited series in recent years, most notably with “The Queen’s Gambit” and “When They See Us.” In December, Netflix ordered another limited series, this one from Sweden — “The Unlikely Murderer,” based on Thomas Pettersson’s 2018 novel. The five-part series, which is due out this year, is penned by Wilhelm Behrman and Niklas Rockström, with “The Witcher” director Charlotte Brändström at the helm of the first two episodes.

Deadline first reported news of “The 39 Steps” deal.