Toronto: Benedict Cumberbatch to Star in 'Gypsy Boy'

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Benedict Cumberbatch

The 'Imitation Game' star will play the father of former bare-knuckle boxer and LGBT activist Mikey Walsh.

Benedict Cumberbatch is set to star in Gypsy Boy, the story of former bare-knuckle fighter and LGBT activist Mikey Walsh

Based on Walsh's best-;selling memoirs, the film adaptation — announced in Toronto Friday — is being produced by Dee Koppang O'Leary (The Crown) and Kevin Loader (My Cousin Rachel, The Death of Stalin). Morgan Matthews, the two-time BAFTA-winning filmmaker whose debut was the acclaimed X+Y, is set to direct, with production starting in the summer of 2018. 

Protagonist Pictures is handling worldwide sales on Gypsy Boy and will be introducing the film to buyers at TIFF.

Raised to be a bare-knuckle fighter in the Romany Gypsy community, Walsh was forced to leave his family and culture in 1996 because he was gay, writing about his experience in two autobiographies.

In 2014 and 2015 he was added to a list of the most influential British LGBT people. 

Cumberbatch is set to play Walsh's father, Frank Walsh, who placed a pair of golden gloves on a chain around his newborn son's neck in the hope that he would maintain the family's fighting reputation. Casting is currently underway to find a young actor to play Mikey opposite Cumberbatch.

Benedict Cumberbatch is repped by Conway van Gelder Grant and UTA.