Rising British star Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing Beatles manager Brian Epstein in an upcoming biopic. Cumberbatch will be teaming with his Sherlock television series director Paul McGuigan who is helming the untitled film. The screenplay by Todd Graff is said to focus on Epstein’s life rather than Epstein’s point of view of the rise of the Fab Four.
Epstein, who was sometimes referred to as “the Fifth Beatle” for how he managed the group’s meteoric rise to stardom, served as manager for the group from 1961 to 1967 when he died of an accidental drug overdose. He led a fairly tortured life as a closeted homosexual with gambling and drug addictions. But despite his personal demons, he has been credited as being able to hold the band together through tough times that threatened to split them up.
This film is the second project about Epstein that is currently in development. The second, called The Fifth Beatle, is being written by Vivek J. Tiwary. It has no director or stars attached, but it has already secured the rights to use the catalog of John Lennon and Paul McCartney-penned Beatles music, so it may have a leg up on this project.