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Cumberbatch to play Iraq soldier

Benedict Cumberbatch has been lined up to play a soldier stationed in Iraq for new film The Yellow Birds.

The Sherlock star will appear alongside We're The Millers star Will Poulter and teenager Tye Sheridan - who appeared in coming of age drama Mud - in the story of two young soldiers who are taken under the wing of an older sergeant as they are deployed to the country.

David Lowery - who won acclaim for his directorial debut Ain't Them Bodies Saints starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara - will direct from his own script, Variety reported.

The film is adapted from the award-nominated novel of the same name by Kevin Powers, who served as a machine gunner with the US Army in Iraq in 2004 and 2005.

Lowery said: "I never had any interest in making a war film until Jeff and Evan (producers Jeffrey Sharp and Evan Hayes) brought me the novel by Kevin Powers.

"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. It is a beautiful and deeply personal tale, relayed through images and memories, and I am excited to have the chance to bring it to the screen."

Cumberbatch was this week sharing his views on the Chelsea Flower Show with his mother, actress Wanda Ventham, for the BBC1 coverage of the annual horticultural showcase.

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