Jake Gyllenhaal, Benedict Cumberbatch in Talks to Star in Weinstein Co.'s 'The Current War' (Exclusive)
'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon is in discussions to helm the film based on Michael Mitnick's Black List script.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Benedict Cumberbatch are in talks to star as George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison, respectively, in The Weinstein Co.'s The Current War.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon is in discussions to helm the Edison-Westinghouse-feud film that was penned by playwright-screenwriter Michael Mitnick (The Giver), whose script made the Black List in 2011. The plan is for Gomez-Rejon to make Current War his next film after directing the Will Smith starrer Collateral Beauty, which will shoot in the fall. Also this fall, Gyllenhaal is shooting Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals.
Current War takes place in the late 1880s and revolves around power titans Edison and Westinghouse's battle over the supply of electricity. Edison championed direct current (DC) for electric-power distribution over alternating current (AC), which was backed by several European companies and Westinghouse Electric.
TWC will finance Current War and release it domestically.
In 2012, Timur Bekmambetov acquired the script as a directing vehicle. He instead will produce the period drama via his Bazelevs banner alongside Film Rites' Steven Zaillian and Garrett Basch. Ben Stiller also had flirted with the project as a directing vehicle.
Bazelevs had been funding development for the project, which was brought in to the company by Alan Khamoui, who is now an executive at Amazon Studios.
Gyllenhaal recently worked with TWC on the boxing film Southpaw, and Harvey Weinstein was one of several studio heads who took a one-on-one meeting with Gyllenhaal at the Toronto Film Festival to pitch the actor projects. Gyllenhaal was in Toronto with the opening-night film Demolition, scheduled to open in April.
He is repped by WME and attorney Alan Hergott.
Cumberbatch also is no stranger to TWC, having starred in the studio's The Imitation Game, for which he was nominated for a best actor Oscar. He is represented by UTA, Conway van Gelder Grant in the U.K. and attorney Robert Offer.
Gomez-Rejon became a hot commodity after directing this year's Sundance darling Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. The feature sparked a bidding war at the festival, with Fox Searchlight eventually landing the film. But Me and Earl never found its audience at the box office, earning just $7 million. Still, it was one of the best-reviewed films of the festival.
Gomez-Rejon is handled by WME, LBI Entertainment and attorneys Matt Johnson and P.J. Shapiro.
Mitnick, a writer on Terence Winter's upcoming HBO series, Vinyl, also wrote the most recent screenplay of Warner Bros.' live-action Pinocchio. He is repped by WME and Grandview.