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Benedict Cumberbatch to star in new Matt Haig novel adaptation


The Sherlock star will play a centuries-old lead character.

Benedict Cumberbatch has signed up to star in and produce an adaptation of a new Matt Haig novel which has not even been published yet.

The best-selling author’s forthcoming novel, How To Stop Time, will transfer to the big screen with Benedict in the starring role as Tom Hazard, a man who may look like an ordinary 41-year-old but, owing to an extremely rare condition, has been alive for centuries.

It is described as a wildly imagined love story that spans centuries and continents, and will be published in July.

Sherlock and Doctor Strange star Benedict has pre-empted the film rights through production company SunnyMarch, which he runs with Adam Ackland, and the film will be made in association with Studiocanal, which will distribute it in the UK, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand, as well as managing international sales.

Matt said: “The prospect of Benedict Cumberbatch playing Tom Hazard is a hugely exciting one and I could not be happier about working with Adam and Jamie (Byng, CEO of the novel’s publisher Canongate Books), and to be reunited with Studiocanal.”

The film will be executive produced by Benedict and Jamie, and produced by Adam.

Adam said: “We have been huge fans of Matt’s for a long time and always admired his wonderfully playful and deeply honest work. How To Stop Time delivers all of this and much, much more… We are truly excited to be taking this on with such a talented team already in place.”

This will be the first adult novel in four years from Matt, who has previously published a range of fiction and non-fiction for adults and children.

His most recent children’s book, The Girl Who Saved Christmas, was published in 2016 as the sequel to A Boy Called Christmas and Studiocanal are adapting the story into a film with Blueprint Pictures.

Matt’s other books include his major depressive disorder memoir Reasons To Stay Alive, which stayed in the Sunday Times top 10 bestseller list for 46 weeks, and alien novel The Humans which has been a hit all over the world.

PA Media