Benedict Cumberbatch will star in “Gypsy Boy,” an adaptation of Mikey Walsh’s memoirs.
The Oscar-nominated star of “The Imitation Game” and “Sherlock” will play a demanding father and a member of the last generation of the Romany Gypsy people, known for their ability to fight. Boxing is a religion to the Walsh clan, so much so that when Mikey is born he is given a pair of golden gloves on a chain around his neck. The pressure for Mikey to become a boxer splits the family.
“I was immediately drawn to Mikey’s courageous and heart-breaking story. And his father Frank is unlike any character I’ve played before,” Cumberbatch said in a statement. “He’s a complex man torn between tradition and his love for a son struggling to come to terms with an identity that’s completely at odds with Frank and his culture.”
The producers are looking for a young actor to play Mikey opposite Cumberbatch.
Production on the film is scheduled to start next summer. Protagonist Pictures is handling worldwide sales on the project and is introducing it to buyers at the ongoing Toronto International Film Festival.
Morgan Matthews (“X+Y”), is directing the film. Dee Koppang O’Leary (Netflix’s “The Crown”) and Kevin Loader (“The Death of Stalin”) will produce. James Graham (“The Vote”) adapted Walsh’s books. BBC Films is financing the picture.
The first autobiography “Gypsy Boy.” was released in 2010 by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd and was a Sunday Times No. 1 bestseller in the UK, a follow-up book, “Gypsy Boy: On The Run,” was published in 201l.
Cumberbatch is repped by Conway van Gelder Grant and UTA. He most recently starred in “Doctor Strange” and will be in Toronto to premiere “The Current War,” a drama in which he plays Thomas Edison.