Whitey Bulger Benedict Cumberbatch

The bad news about Scott Cooper‘s Whitey Bulger biopic (formerly titled Black Mass) is that it’s just lost Guy Pearce. The good news is, it’s just added Benedict Cumberbatch as his replacement — and Adam Scott, Sienna Miller, and Julianne Nicholson besides.

The quartet join a star-studded cast that also includes Joel Edgerton, Dakota Johnson, Juno Temple, Rory CochraneJesse Plemons, and Johnny Depp as Bulger himself. Hit the jump to learn whom the new actors are playing.

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Benedict Cumberbatch in The Yellow Birds

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints director David Lowery is on a huge roll, with directorial attachments and screenwriting gigs coming out of the woodwork since the Sundance 2013. He’s writing and likely directing Pete’s Dragon, has a possible reunion with Casey Affleck in the project Two, and seems to have plenty of other projects brewing, such as The Old Man and the Gun with Robert Redford, and an adaptation of the graphic novel Torso. Now Lowery has been set to direct Benedict Cumberbatch in The Yellow Birds.

The film will be an adaptation of the novel by Iraq War veteran Kevin Powers. The book follows two men who are sent to Iraq, and the bond between them as one, slightly older, tries to protect his younger comrade. Read More »

Star Wars Benedict Cumberbatch

Over the past year, Star Wars Episode VII casting rumors have touched upon just about every big name in Hollywood — and even some not-so-big names as well. But one of the first to make the rounds was Benedict Cumberbatch, way back when.

Although the actor has already shot down the reports multiple times, the whole Khan debacle of 2013 has had everyone taking his word with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, Cumberbatch has gone on the record to deny those Star Wars Episode VII rumors yet again. Should we believe him this time? Read his Star Wars comments after the jump — plus, a word on what other insanely popular sci-fi franchise he won’t be starring in.

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smaug

Rest assured that when The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug hits Blu-ray on April 8, there will be hours of behind the scenes footage to illustrate in exhaustive detail the process of creating the film. But of all the possible views on the process of building The Desolation of Smaug, the one we’re perhaps most keen to learn about is the process of bringing its titular dragon to life.

A new featurette shows a bit of that process, including just a bit of footage of Benedict Cumberbatch in a mo-cap suit doing some all-in physical performance for Smaug. Oh, and in case you need some size reference for Smaug, one of his creators explains that he’s twice the size of a jumbo jet. Check out the video after the break.  Read More »

imitation_game

That image above is Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role of The Imitation Game, in which he plays mathematician Alan Turing. The film is based on a Black List script by Graham Moore, directed by Morten Tyldum, and evidently Harvey Weinstein sees it as a primo Oscar contender to open later this year. The indie mogul just paid $7m for distribution rights at the Euopean Film Market going on as part of the Berlin Film Festival. That, says Deadline, is the most ever paid for an American production at the market there. Read More »

Sherlock season 3

You probably already know the good news: we’re getting a fourth season of Sherlock. And if you’ve finished the third season, that was all but settled in the final moments. The bad news, however, is the wait. Series co-creator Steven Moffat splits his time between Sherlock and another little show people might have heard of, Doctor Who. He has a lot of his plate. In a recent interview he said he won’t sacrifice any quality and that means we probably won’t see Sherlock return for a few years. Read More »

Empire Striketh Back header

With books, games, audio, movies, and TV, this edition of Star Wars Bits crosses all media. Below, read about the following:

  • Is Benedict Cumberbatch out of the running for Star Wars Episode VII?
  • Is Episode VII coming out at the same time across the globe?
  • Disney announced a new mobile game called Star Wars: Assault Team.
  • Bill Hader kills some Star Wars impressions on Conan.
  • Star Wars vet Sam Witwer talks potentially being part of Star Wars Rebels.
  • There’s a new presentation video for the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum.
  • Check out the cover to William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back.
  • Lego Star Wars Microfighters is now available for iOS.
  • Listen to an audio clip from Star Wars: Maul Lockdown.

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Benedict Cumberbatch

Is Sherlock going to be over too soon for you? Good news for fans of its star: we might see Benedict Cumberbatch scale Blood Mountain. The actor is now attached to star in the thriller from director Sergei Bodrov (Mongol, Seventh Son) and screenwriters Jonathan W. Stokes (who wrote the original draft) and John Romano.

The film, says Variety, is about “a private military contractor whose special forces team is ambushed and killed during a covert raid, forcing him to personally escort one of the world’s most wanted terrorists over hostile terrain in order to bring him to justice. With a bounty at stake and insurgents and rival mercenaries hunting them, the two find themselves facing not only their enemies, but each other in their fight for survival.

It is set to shoot this coming April in Morocco. Rights are being sold at the European Film Market in Berlin, which is where news of Cumberbatch’s involvement broke. Normally, with a film market project, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see someone like Cumberbatch move on to different things, but this is ready to go so soon that he might be locked into it.

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