Belfast Telegraph

Cumberbatch for Brian Epstein role

Benedict Cumberbatch has signed up to play Brian Epstein in a new biopic about the Beatles' manager.

The film is being co-produced by Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks and directed by Paul McGuigan, who was behind the camera for several episodes of TV drama Sherlock.

Benedict, 36, shot to fame on both sides of the Atlantic thanks to his role as Arthur Conan Doyle's famous sleuth in hit BBC series Sherlock.

Producers describe the Epstein project as the story of "the man who threw the biggest party of the 1960s but ultimately forgot to invite himself", The Hollywood Reporter said.

Epstein, who struggled with gambling and drug addictions and was a closet homosexual, was found dead at his Belgravia home at the age of 32 following an overdose of sleeping pills.

He discovered the Beatles when they were still performing at the Cavern Club in Liverpool and got the Fab Four their first record deal before Britain was engulfed by Beatlemania.

Dubbed the "fifth Beatle", he looked after all aspects of the Beatles' business careers, while his other proteges included Gerry And The Pacemakers and Cilla Black.

Cumberbatch recently starred in another BBC drama, Parade's End, while his forthcoming films are set to include The Hobbit and Star Trek Into Darkness.

Another Brian Epstein project, dubbed The Fifth Beatle, is also in the works, adapted from Vivek J Tiwary's graphic novel.

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