Cannes: Benedict Cumberbatch to Star in War Drama 'The Yellow Birds'

From left: Tye Sheridan, Benedict Cumberbatch and Will Poulter
From left: Tye Sheridan, Benedict Cumberbatch and Will Poulter
 AP Images/Invision

Benedict Cumberbatch, Tye Sheridan, and Will Poulter will star in The Yellow Birds, an adaptation of the Kevin Powers novel being helmed by Ain’t Them Bodies Saints director David Lowery.

The film, which is being unveiled in Cannes, is the second project for Mark Canton and Courtney Solomon's Cinelou Films, which is financing with Story Mining & Supply Co. 

With a script by Lowery, Birds centers around two soldiers, 21-year-old Private Bartle and 18-year-old Private Murphy, who meet in boot camp. Bartle made a promise to Murphy's mother to guide him home safely and takes the young private under his wing. But he soon finds that promise hard to keep as they navigate a war where atrocities are a daily occurrence.

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Powers is a veteran of the Iraq War and his novel garnered rave reviews; Tom Wolfe called it the "All Quiet on the Western Front for America's Arab wars."

Canton and Solomon are producing the adaptation with Story Mining's CEO and president Jeffrey Sharp and production president Evan Hayes, who acquired the rights to the novel and developed the script.

Jim Kohlberg, chairman of Story Mining & Supply Co., will executive produce.

The Solution will handle foreign sales of the film in Cannes. WME Global, CAA and UTA will handle the domestic sale.

"I never had any interest in making a war film until Jeff and Evan brought me the novel by Kevin Powers," said Lowery. "And perhaps I still don't, because while Powers' story takes place during wartime, it isn't about the conflict. It is about characters who find themselves caught up in war but who struggle to not let it define them. I fell in love with them."

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Cinelou is backed up China's Shenghua Entertainment. Shenghua initially put in $50 million for five movies but is now doubling down on its investment, bringing the total to $100 million for 10 films.  

That's a nice vote of confidence for Cinelou, which last week wrapped production on its first film, Cake, starring Jennifer Aniston, Anna Kendrick and Britt Robertson.

Cumberbatch, coming off another excellent season of BBC's Sherlock, will next be seen playing gay mathematician Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. He is repped by UTA and Conway van Gelder Grant.

Sheridan was one of the breakout stars of last year's Mud and is currently shooting Scouts vs. Zombies for Paramount.

Poulter was the breakout star of New Line's comedy We're the Millers and will appear in Fox's The Maze Runner.

Lowery, Sheridan and Poulter are repped by WME.

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