Benedict Cumberbatch to play ‘the fifth Beatle’, closeted gay manager Brian Epstein

I apologize to all of you. It’s usually not this dead on a Friday! But you know I’ll use any excuse to talk about my lovely Benedict Cumberbatch. Incidentally, he IS mine. We can all joke around and play-fight and “joke” about the “slut-shank” but I think everyone knows that Benedict is MINE. Period. The end. VICTORY! *raises fist*

Anyway, I kind of missed this news a few days ago because I was too enchanted by the sight of my Cumby holding a delicious baby. The baby was director Paul McGuigan’s, a friend of Benedict’s and a director of several episodes of Sherlock. Well, Paul and Cumby are going to be working together on a different project – a bio-pic of “The Fifth Beatle”. No, not little Stuart Sutcliffe, which was my first thought when everyone was like “the fifth Beatle!” (sidenote: how great was that movie Backbeat? That was back when Steven Dorff was the bomb). Anyway, Cumby was cast as Brian Epstein, the first manager of The Beatles:

Benedict Cumberbatch and his Sherlock director Paul McGuigan are teaming up for a biopic about Brian Epstein, the iconic manager of The Beatles. Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are producing via their Playtone banner along with Simon Halfon.

Todd Graff wrote the screenplay, whose focus is not a story about The Beatles from Epstein’s point of view but the story of Epstein himself.

Sometimes called the “fifth Beatle,” Epstein signed the band in 1961 — before Beatlemania hit — and died in 1967 from an accidental drug overdose. He was a closet homosexual and suffered from gambling and drug addictions — and was many times the glue that held the band together. The producers describe the project as the story of “the man who threw the biggest party of the 1960s but ultimately forgot to invite himself.”

The casting news arrives as another Brian Epstein project, dubbed The Fifth Beatle, is coming together from author Vivek J. Tiwary, who will write and produce a big-screen adaptation of his graphic novel. That project has secured the rights to inlude Beatles songs from Sony/ATV, which controls the John Lennon/Paul McCartney music catalogue.

McGuigan is the main director of Sherlock, having directed four out of the six episodes of the hit BBC show (which has sold to more than 160 countries) and that earned Cumberbatch an Emmy nomination this year.

The actor, who had a role in Playtone’s 2006 feature Starter for 10, is playing the villain in Star Trek Into Darkness and appears with Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender in Twelve Years a Slave. He is also appearing in The Weinstein Co.’s adaptation of August: Osage County, where he will play Meryl Streep’s nephew.

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

I don’t let my Beatles Freak Flag fly that often, but in truth, I’ve read a ton of Beatles books and biographies and autobiographies of people who were adjacent to the Beatles. One of my favorites was Patti Boyd’s autobiography/memoir – she was George Harrison’s first wife, and the way she described it, Brian did EVERYTHING for John, Ringo, Paul and George. It’s also widely believed that Brian Epstein was in love with John Lennon, and that Brian “came out” to John shortly before he (Brian) died. I’ve also heard some theories that John and Brian had a brief physical affair, after which John wrote the song “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”.

Anyway, this is a really good role for Cumby. Playing a gay man in the 1960s, tortured, alcoholic, and in love with one of the most famous men in the world? Oh yes. Cumby shall get his Oscar nomination.

Photos courtesy of WENN, Twitter, The Telegraph.

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65 Responses to “Benedict Cumberbatch to play ‘the fifth Beatle’, closeted gay manager Brian Epstein”

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  1. TheOriginalKitten says:

    He appears to have severe skin discoloration on his forehead.


    *runs and hides*

  2. Mauibound says:

    Oh ya, Cumby will be fantatstic!

  3. Roxy says:

    This will be amazing. And hooray…no Johnny Depp anywhere to be found in this movie, at last!! Epstein died, Ringo said thats when the Beatles ended, just not officially. They started to fall apart after that. Gawd, I love me some Beatles <3

  4. gg says:

    Wow, I would love to see this put to film and I think he could pull it off!

  5. cucumber says:

    I dont want to see him in Assange biopic. This is a better choice for him.

    • Amelia says:

      +1. Assange doesn’t deserve the coverage.
      Cumby will definitely deserve an Oscar nom after this. It’s nice to see someone genuinely talented get the recognition they deserve.
      I wonder who will play the Beatles members? Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Lennon, seeing as he’s played him before?

  6. Jaded says:

    Cannot WAIT to see this, I’m a child of the Beatles era and actually saw them perform live in Toronto when I was 13 years old at the now defunct Maple Leaf Gardens *SIGH*. The English invasion of music in the sixties was the bomb.

  7. Dawn says:

    I thought Stu Sutcliff was the 5th Beatle. Epstein was the manager who was at the right place at the right time although he did work hard for the Beatles, they saw him mostly as a joke and as someone who was hot for John or so the folk lore goes. But he was NOT the 5tg Beatle ever.

    • EscapedConvent says:

      It’s funny, I’ve heard that “Fifth Beatle” name applied from everyone from Stu Sutcliffe, to Brian Epstein, to George Martin, Neil Aspinall… a DJ who was the first Radio DJ to play the Beatles!

      Somebody better ring up Paul & Ringo & ask them for a statement while there’s still time!

      If you ask me, I would expect it to be Sutcliffe, & after his death, Brain E.

      Wait—I just remembered something—wasn’t Stu Sutcliffe called The Lost Beatle?

    • Mairead says:

      I always had Pete Best as the “Fifth Beatle” and Sutcliffe as the Lost. However Epstein was often hailed as the silent member even in the 60s

  8. marie says:

    haha, I love the Cumby posts, so entertaining.. Has Eve shown up yet?

    So Kaiser if you claim Fassy and Cumby, is it every other day Cumby love, how does this work?

  9. lisacuddy says:

    I can’t really picture him in this role, but he’s a brilliant actor anyways.

  10. j.eyre says:

    I am so very excited about this casting news – I think it will be wonderful. I too have read many books/bios n the Beatles and think Cumberbatch for Epstein is inspired.

    Is the screenplay merely biographical or is it based on pre-existing literature? I think Bill Nighy should play George Martin.

    My freak flag for the Beatles waves at all times…

    Congratulations on the Mrs. Cumberbatch victory – well-earned.

    (and that photo of Cumberbatch in the white shirt is going in the “permanent collection.”)

  11. Jenna says:

    Nah. Still say he belongs to Eve. Let the Cumber Games begin!

  12. wild flower says:

    Oh I hope the movie is full of my favorite songs. Tom Hanks did some Beatles knock off years ago that was pretty good.

    P.S. Kaiser, this post was super funny.

  13. Birdie says:

    Amazing role for him.

    Btw, umm, I have a tumblr blog about Ben. I regret nothing :D

  14. Alana Fajina says:

    this guy is just plain pasty and fug. and on a Friday no less. Gee, thanks!

  15. Lindsay says:

    Under the photos the Amazon ads are for
    1. “Cumby Man Cave” sign
    2. Cumby Coat of Arms hand painted on wood
    Ok, both make some sense, don’t know how real the second thing is.
    3. “Skinny Girl” by Bethanny Frankkel (?) lol

  16. SusieQ2 says:

    I always thought Michael Sheen would be excellent in a biopic of Brian Epstein.

    But Cumby is a good choice. He’ll do the role justice.

  17. B says:

    I’ve only seen him in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but he was good in it and I think that he’d make a great Brian Epstein.

  18. Zelda says:

    I hope his jawless face doesn’t wreck a movie I’m looking forward to.

  19. Renee says:

    I would watch the shit out of this movie. It sounds like it could be really good.

  20. jamie says:

    Just want to say I’m ALWAYS happy for a Cumberbatch post.

  21. Mama*C says:

    There is a Bway musical of Backbeat in the works, probably next year or so.

  22. skuddles says:

    I may get lynched for saying this but I don’t think playing a gay character will be much of a stretch for the Cumberbutts. He pings my gaydar big time.

  23. midnightmoon says:

    i just see him as part Elvenclan, and that makes him palatable to look at. how did he not get cast in LOTR or the Hobbit? guy doesn’t need make-up…

  24. JJ says:

    Paging Mr. Weinstein to co-produce/ distribute this and pimp it to the award-giving bodies, please!

    Here’s to hoping the screenplay is awesome!

  25. Sue says:

    Can he and Jessica Chastain please date the hell out of each other, please. I’m in need of a modern-day Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton or Olivier/Leigh drama around. Somebody make a movie where they just act and out-act each other stat!

  26. LittleDeadGirl says:

    Sounds like a fantastic role and an interesting movie. He is all your though … sorry … he does NOTHING for me -lol-

  27. blinditemreader says:

    Pete Best, the drummer fired and replaced by Ringo Starr, is the one usually referred to as the ‘Fifth Beatle’. #nerdalert

  28. Halfmydadsage says:

    Yay. Cumberposts all week long. It’s Christmas.

  29. Angi says:

    I do hope he wins an Oscar. He is so talented and HOT!

  30. Diane says:

    Great casting. I remember Brian Epstein. He looks a lot like him.

  31. Mairead says:

    Firstly: NO HE BLOODY WELL IS NOT!! we’ve already had this conversation about the Kerryman Kaiser!!

    I think this is brilliant casting, natch. I always thought Brian Epstein was a fascinating character.

    For a bit more on the Epstein/Lennon story you may enjoy a film called “The Hours and Times” based on the mysterious trip Epstein and Lennon to Barcelona.
    It stars the criminally-underrated Ian Hart who also played Lennon in “Backbeat”

  32. BIGT says:

    Haven’t seen him in much. You can have him. Doesn’t do it for me.

  33. Adrien says:

    I’m more interested in a Pete Best biopic than a Brian Epstein film.

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