First Look Of Benedict Cumberbatch As Thomas Edison In ‘The Current War’ Is Finally Here

A first look of Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison in The Current War has just been released by the Weinstein Company. The image shows Cumberbatch looking solemn and thoughtful in period garb against the backdrop of a dimly lit interior.

As Film-News has reported, The Current War is currently being shot in London and its neighboring areas. The movie is based on the real-life rivalry and powerplay between two major inventors, Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse. The title of the film, The Current War, is inspired by the competition between Edison and Westinghouse to dominate the American electric system with their electric power transmission systems. While Edison’s Edison Electric Light Company advocated the direct current (DC) system, Westinghouse’s Westinghouse Electric Company pushed for the alternating current (AC). The fierce rivalry between the two men was rife with drama and included incidents of collusion, propaganda campaigns, animal cruelty, and even electrocution, according to Smithsonian.

Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of the Weinstein Company and producer of The Current War, has commented on how timely this tale of historical rivalry remains today.

“Edison and Westinghouse’s rivalry is the ultimate tale of competition driving ingenuity. Theirs was a battle of intellect, a race of creativity and technological innovation that we see echoed in the self made inventors dominating spaces like Silicon Valley.”

The Current War stars Doctor Strange actor Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison and Michael Shannon (Midnight Special, Nocturnal Animals) as Edison’s competitor, George Westinghouse. Actor Nicholas Hoult, who’s perhaps best-known for his role as Beast in the X-Men reboot series, plays Nikola Tesla, an inventor that made substantial contributions to the development of the alternating current system. Tom Holland (the new Spider-Man who first made his appearance as Peter Parker in Captain America: Civil War and whom we will be seeing soon this year in Spider-Man: Homecoming), Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Tuppence Middleton (Sense8, The Imitation Game), and Matthew Macfadyen (Ripper Street, Anna Karenina) are also part of the cast of the film.

This is hardly the first time Benedict Cumberbatch has played a genius-type figure whose most prominent trait is his unparalleled intelligence. In fact, as a tweet from Anything Cumberbatch shows, Cumberbatch has nearly made a career out of playing astute, brilliant men, including Alan Turing in The Imitation Game(a film which garnered him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor), Stephen Hawking in the 2004 TV movie Hawking, and now Thomas Edison in The Current War.

Another prodigiously gifted real-life figure that Cumberbatch has played is WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate. The actor’s knack for portraying intensely cerebral characters was also in full display in his role as Doctor Stephen Strange in the Marvel movie Doctor Strange and Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series Sherlock, the TV show that first catapulted him to international stardom.

With filming of The Current War presently underway, Benedict Cumberbatch will be unable to participate in the shooting of some of his Doctor Strange scenes in Avengers: Infinity War. The Avengers sequel is slated to begin production next week and to remedy the scheduling conflict, Marvel will be employing Broadway actor Aaron Lazar as a body double to fill in for Cumberbatch for some of his scenes, according to Digital Spy. The plans are for Cumberbatch to later reshoot scenes in Avengers: Infinity War where Lazar’s face appears.

The actor currently appears to be enjoying his time on the set of The Current War. Clips showing Cumberbatch dance while dressed as Thomas Edison as well as on-set photos of him waving to his fans provide a sense of levity to what feels like a somber, Oscar-baiting period drama.

[Featured Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]