Benedict Cumberbatch Will Bring Wicked Vulnerability As The Voice Of 'The Grinch'

Benedict Cumberbatch will voice The Grinch in Universal's animated movie set for release on November 10, 2017. Illumination Entertainment CEO, Chris Meledandri, made the announcement during the Universal Studios presentation at CinemaCon on Wednesday.

"Choosing the actor to voice The Grinch, we were determined to make a choice that would not only define this version of The Grinch as absolutely singular, but most importantly, we were looking for a voice to express comedic wickedness while embodying vulnerability," said Meledandri. "It is that vulnerability that allows us to create a character that is not only highly entertaining, but also has an irresistible appeal."

Illumination Entertainment is the animation studio that brought us Seuss' The Lorax, and most recently Despicable Me. The new Grinch arrives 17 years after the release of Universal's live-action version of the Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which starred Jim Carrey. That film grossed $345.1 million worldwide. The original Grinch TV special aired in 1966 and starred Boris Karloff. The classic tale was written by American author/illustrator Theodor Seuss Geisel, who penned several popular children's books under the name Dr. Seuss. The story centers on the bitter, green Grinch who lives in a cave "watching the happy people of Whoville below him and vows to take Christmas away from them."

Meledandri said the movie version would be "both modern and classic." The film will be directed by Pete Candeland and Yarrow Cheney, with Meledandri, Janet Healy, and Scott Mosier serving as producers. Audrey Geisel and Chris Renaud will executive produce, per The Wrap.

"What we've set out to do with this telling of the Grinch is make it both modern and traditional at the same time," Meledandri told Deadline. "When I say that I mean from a traditional standpoint, we've really tried to go back to what we perceive as the essence of what Ted Geisel was communicating. What I love about his work is that at the center of it, of all of his stories, are very, very simple and universal ideas." He added that his vision of the story will explore "the simple question of whether or not innocence can transform cynicism."

Cumberbatch has received numerous awards and nominations for his work, including three Primetime Emmy Award nominations, winning Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for Sherlock. His portrayal of Alan Turing in The Imitation Game earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. In addition, he has received six BAFTA nominations, five SAG nominations, and two Golden Globe Award nominations.Benedict recently said he's "thrilled to be back" filming the fourth series of the popular BBC One show Sherlock. The series will return with three feature-length episodes, with Martin Freeman reprising the role of his trusty assistant, Doctor Watson. Producer Mark Gatiss posted the first picture of Benedict on the Sherlock set (see Twitter embed above).

Speaking about the return to his breakout role, Benedict said, "I can't wait for everyone to see season four. But you will have to wait... though not for long... And it will be worth it."

Sherlock Series 4 is expected to return to BBC1 in January 2017.

Meanwhile, a teaser of Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange premiered this week on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Directed by Scott Derrickson, the film also stars Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton as Strange's mentor, the Ancient One. It arrives in theaters on November 4. Check out the teaser trailer below.

[Image courtesy Jonathan Short/Invision/AP]