While the status of Sherlock is up in the air in the aftermath of Season 4, its star Benedict Cumberbatch will tackle another prestigious BBC/Masterpiece small screen passion project amongst his Marvel-movie-heavy docket. This one, a 90-minute TV movie adapting Ian McEwan’s popular dramatic novel The Child in Time, dwells in a couple’s unfathomable grief, with Cumberbatch starring alongside Kelly Macdonald.
The Child in Time Trailer
The Child in Time teaser trailer showcases a morose, Broadchurch-esque, exploration of the worst kind of grief, the loss of one’s child. The story centers on children’s books author Stephen Lewis (Cumberbatch) whose daughter Kate is abducted (and presumed dead) after a routine trip to the supermarket. Two years later, the grief remains unbearable, leading to a downward spiral of unproductive misery and an irreparable divide between Stephen and wife Julie, who will be played by Kelly Macdonald (T2 Trainspotting, Boardwalk Empire, Brave). Additional misery is spread to Stephen’s countryside-retired best friends in Charles played by Stephen Campbell Moore (Season of the Witch, Goodbye Christopher Robin) and Thelma played by Saskia Reeves (Shetland, Wolf Hall).
Benedict Cumberbatch is serving as star and executive producer for The Child in Time, adapting Ian McEwan’s Whitbread Novel Award-winning 1987 novel of the same name. The BBC One small screen event will be directed by Julian Farino (Ballers, Entourage), who works off an adaptation screenplay by Stephen Butchard (The Last Kingdom, Good Cop). Cumberbatch’s SunnyMarch TV, BBC One, Masterpice are co-producing the project, with Studiocanal handling worldwide distribution.
The Child in Time‘s non-linear nature complements its eventual emotional resolution regarding the relative nature of time itself and its primary role in achieving acceptance. The novel is especially poignant for Cumberbatch, who appeared in the 2007 film adaptation of McEwan’s novel Atonement. As Cumberbatch explains of his attachment to The Child in Time:
“I read the novel years ago and it stayed with me — profound, beautiful and very moving. Only Ian McEwan could write about loss with such telling honesty. We’re very excited to have Stephen Butchard’s subtle and brilliant adaptation, and in Julian Farino we have an extraordinary director who delivers emotional truth. I’m so proud The Child in Time will be the first drama produced by SunnyMarch TV.”
Author Ian McEwan reciprocated Cumberbatch’s sentiments by citing his own sense of nostalgia, stating:
“[I am] thrilled to have my novel in the hands of such a high level creative team. I have fond memories of Benedict playing a brilliant and key part in the movie adaptation of Atonement. Now, it’s a great honor to have this actor of such immense resource, experience and subtlety in the lead role of The Child in Time.”
For now, star Benedict Cumberbatch has a plate full of high-profile projects. He’s playing Thomas Edison in November’s historical electricity drama The Current War and will fulfill more Marvel Studios obligations returning as Doctor Strange in this November’s Thor: Ragnarok, 2018 Marvel mega-movie Avengers: Infinity War, with future Doctor Strange sequels certain. He’s also voicing the villainous tiger Shere Khan in director Andy Serkis’s film adaptation of The Jungle Book and the Noel-nabbing title character in a new animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
While The Child in Time doesn’t have a premiere date, it is billed to arrive Stateside on Masterpiece on PBS sometime in 2018.
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