Benedict Cumberbatch to Star in The 39 Steps for Netflix

The new adaptation is just one of many new projects Cumberbatch already has in the works.


Benedict Cumberbatch has signed on to star in and executive produce an adaptation of The 39 Steps, which is coming to Netflix as a limited series. As per Deadline, the streaming service made what was described as an aggressive bid to secure the project, and while further details are thin, the modern-day adaptation of John Buchan’s 1915 novel will consist of at least six hour-long episodes.

Besides Cumberbatch, there’s some high-caliber talent attached to The 39 Steps, with Edward Berger set to direct the entire run. The duo previously collaborated on Showtime’s Patrick Melrose, which was nominated for Outstanding Limited Series at the Primetime Emmys and scored further nods for its acting, writing, and directing.

The Revenant’s Mark L. Smith will handle writing duties on the update of a story that was most famously brought to life in Alfred Hitchock’s 1935 classic, although it’s since been adapted three other times: twice as features released on the big screen in 1959 and 1978, and a 90-minute television film that aired on the BBC in 2008.


Image via Roadside Attractions

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Cumberbatch will star as Richard Hannay, who becomes caught up in trying to stop an international spy ring from stealing military secrets. After being framed for murder, Hannay is forced to go on the run as he attempts to clear his name and unravel the wide-ranging conspiracy at the center of the story.

It’s the latest addition to a positively jam-packed slate for Cumberbatch, who has recently be seen in both the legal drama The Mauritanian and historical thriller The Courier. The Sherlock star also has the biopic The Electrical Life of Louis Wain expected later this year, as well as Netflix’s literary adaptation The Power of the Dog.

On top of that, he recently wrapped shooting on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Spider-Man: No Way Home before working on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. If that still wasn’t enough, Cumberbatch also signed on to Colin Trevorrow’s World War II adventure War Magician last month. With all these projects in the works, it could be a while before we see Cumberbatch in Netflix’s take on The 39 Steps.

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