The War Magician

Benedict Cumberbatch received an Oscar nomination for playing Alan Turing in 2014’s The Imitation Game, so it makes perfect sense that he’s seek out another movie with an awards-friendly premise where he gets to play a fascinating historical figure. The Current War gives him one hell of a role: Thomas Edison, the prolific American inventor and businessman responsible for the lightbulb, the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and countless other items we take for granted today (he held over 1,000 patents in the United States alone). And he was also something of a total dick, a subject that this film will undoubtedly explore.

Our first look at Cumberbatch as Edison in the film has arrived, so how about we take a look?

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Ben Stiller Chippendales

We’ve seen Magic Mike and will soon get the sequel, Magic Mike XXL. But what about a film that tells the real story of the Chippendales male dance revue? Alan Ball (True Blood) wrote and is now looking at directing a Chippendales story called I Am Chippendale. He’s got Ben Stiller in talks for the lead role, which should give his old Blue Steel muscles a real workout. Read More »

Briefly: Timur Bekmambetov now has a project to possibly follow up Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. He has just been attached to direct The Current War, which isn’t about a war taking place now, but rather about a battle over electricity. Specifically, Michael Mitnick‘s spec script is about “the competition between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to create the first sustainable electrical current.”

That’s potentially a great story, though I wonder how Bekmambetov, whose work isn’t exactly closely indebted to truth and history, will make the movie. Steven Zaillian is producing, as is Bekmambetov. There is no cast yet, though Sacha Baron Cohen was reportedly interested in playing Edison at one point. Now that the top-level team is set, we’ll see whether or not he gets an offer. [Variety]

Each December since 2004, studio executive Franklin Leonard has compiled the best unproduced screenplays of the year, as voted by hundreds of execs, agency guys, and high-level assistants. Titled The Black List, the compendium highlights both established screenwriters and up-and-comers, and has served as a launching pad in the past for projects like Juno, Lars and the Real Girl, and (500) Days of Summer. Last year’s list included Margin Call, Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Hunger Games, and Snow White and the Huntsman.

It should be noted that the headline is somewhat misleading — some of these screenplays have already been acquired and are already in development, though according to Leonard none will have entered principal photography by December 31, 2011. Also worth pointing out is that, as in previous years, there have been rumors that some of the participants have been accused of using the Black List to promote their own clients or friends. Finally, as Leonard reminds us each time, “The Black List is not a ‘best of’ list. It is, at best, a ‘most liked’ list.”

Regardless, we can always rely on the Black List to stir up conversation among both industry insiders and outside spectators alike, so without further ado, hit the jump for the complete 2011 list.

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