The planned biopic of the late Beatles manager Brian Epstein has both a leading man and director.The wonderfully-named Benedict Cumberbatch, best known from BBC’s Sherlock, will play Epstein, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Paul McGuigan, the director of “Gangster No. 1″ and “Lucky Number Slevin,” who has also worked on Sherlock, will direct the film, for Tom Hanks’ production company Playtone.
Epstein, the Beatles’ manager throughout their early run of success, died of a drug overdose in 1967. The film will join “Backbeat” and “Nowhere Man” as movies concentrating on ancillary parts of the Beatles’ history.
A rival film about Epstein, “The Fifth Beatle,” is also in the works, based on a graphic novel by Vivek J. Tiwary. According to the THR report, Sony has secured the use of the Lennon-McCartney catalog, which presumably means the Cumberbatch/McGuigan version has not.