Wes Anderson has signed on to direct an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, for Netflix. Sources also note Ralph Fiennes, Dev Patel and Ben Kingsley have joined the cast, with production expected to start this month in London.
Netflix had no comment on the reports.
First published in 1977, “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More” is a collection of seven short stories crafted by British author Dahl for older children. Cumberbatch will play Henry Sugar, the protagonist of the titular story, which poses the question: “If you could see with your eyes closed…would you use your power for good or for personal gain?”
The new movie marks Anderson’s second outing with Dahl’s classic works after the filmmaker crafted “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” into a stop-motion film in 2009 and co-wrote the screenplay with Noah Baumbach. The best animated feature Oscar nominee also boasted an A-list voice cast, including George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Willem Dafoe, Michael Gambon and Bill Murray.
Cumberbatch is also no stranger to bringing iconic pieces of literature to life, having earned an Emmy award for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes (“Sherlock”) and voicing Smaug (in “The Hobbit” trilogy), the Grinch (in the 2018 animated film) and Shere Khan (“Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle”).
Most recently, Cumberbatch has garnered Oscar buzz for his leading performance as Phil Burbank in Jane Campion’s adaptation of the acclaimed novel “The Power of the Dog.” He was previously nominated for best actor for 2014’s “The Imitation Game.” The actor is also a comic book icon after taking up the mantle of Marvel’s Dr. Stephen Strange in 2016 and appearing in six MCU films, including “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and the upcoming “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”
News of the project follows the streamer’s acquisition of the Roald Dahl Story Company in September 2021, when plans were announced for the development of an extensive universe of animated and live-action film and television projects (including a series based on the world of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” from Taika Waititi and Phil Johnston), as well as publishing, games, immersive experiences, live theater and consumer products.
Already in the works is “Matilda: the Musical,” starring up-and-comer Alisha Weir as Matilda, Emma Thompson as Miss Trunchbull, Lashana Lynch as Miss Honey, Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough as Matilda’s parents and Sindhu Vee as librarian Mrs. Phelps. Matthew Warchus, who directed both the West End and Broadway productions of the show, will direct the film, which is a co-production between Netflix, Sony and Working Title.
Baz Bamigboye first reported Anderson and Cumberbatch involvement in the project.