The film, looking at the rivalry between electricity innovators Thomas Edison (played by Cumberbatch) and George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon), was a casualty in last year’s fallout of the revelations about the disgraced movie mogul, who acted as producer on the project.
Initially due for release toward the end of 2017 and once tipped as an Oscar contender, The Current War no longer has a domestic release date. But, speaking to British daily newspaper The Telegraph, the actor — soon to be seen in Avengers: Infinity War — revealed that he was far from disappointed that the film had been indefinitely shelved.
“If it takes us not releasing our film for a couple of years just to be rid of that toxicity, I’m fine with that,” he said, adding, “to step back and be as far removed from that influence as possible, both as filmmaker and as human being.”
Cumberbatch first worked with Weinstein on 2014’s The Imitation Game, another real-life role that bagged him his only Academy Awards nomination to date. He described the producer as “lascivious,” adding, “I wouldn’t want to be married to him.… Gaudy in his tastes, for all his often-brilliant filmmaking ability.…”
Discussing first hearing about the allegations against Weinstein, Cumberbatch said it was a “true shock” at the time. “That this has just literally happened. And it’s been covered up by an entire body of people through lawsuits and gagging and money —hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to silence victims and survivors,” he said. “That truly was a revelation.”
After the revelations about Weinstein came to light last year, Cumberbatch released a statement about the producer. “I am utterly disgusted by the continuing revelations of Harvey Weinstein’s horrifying and unforgivable actions,” he said. “We need to collectively stand up and support victims of abuse such as the brave and inspiring women who have spoken out against him and say we hear you and believe you.”
The Current War — directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and also starring Nicholas Hoult, Katherine Waterston, Tom Holland and Tuppence Middleton — first bowed at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, receiving largely mediocre reviews. The Hollywood Reporter described the film as “stubbornly lacking in magic.”