Benedict Cumberbatch is to star in a six-part adaptation of Matt Haig’s bestselling novel How To Stop Time which is being produced by StudioCanal and Cumberbatch’s Sunnymarch.
Tomas Alfredson (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) will direct from scripts by DC Moore, with filming due to begin next year in London and Europe.
The globe-trotting thriller explores the lives of men and women who live for centuries while suffering from a very rare condition called anageria. Central character Tom Hazard (Cumberbatch) is one such sufferer – born in 15th Century France he has repeatedly lost everything because of his condition.
He’s also caught in the middle of a secret war which has been fought by anageria sufferers for centuries – serving asa recruiter for an underground group fighting to survive and protect themselves from the outside world.
Cumberbatch commented: “When I first read How To Stop Time the potential of this story was immediately obvious. In his inimitable style, Matt once again explores what it is to be human and what it is to live a life – a very long one in this case – with pathos, insight, humour, drama and inspiration.
“I am so thrilled to be reuniting with Tomas Alfredson who is the perfect person to capture the scale, tension, and sense of humour alive in DC Moore’s adaptation.”
Alfredson added “We all know that time is something absolute, like silence or darkness or the speed of light. But describing or witnessing it seems as flexible as taste, beauty or politics.
“I guess this is why Matt Haig’s How To Stop Time is so compelling. It’s a fantastic essential condition for a TV-series to have a main character that doesn’t age and all the possibilities that offers.
“DC Moore has written a fantastic script and to have the forever young Benedict Cumberbatch to play Tom Hazard is nothing less than congenial.”
DC Moore commented: “Matt Haig’s brilliant book was a joy to adapt for the screen, as it is such an epic, unpredictable, and deeply humane story.
“It’s beyond exciting to be working with artists of the incredible calibre of Benedict Cumberbatch and Tomas Alfredson to bring this story to the screen, and give it all the ambition, craft and heart it so richly deserves.”
Matt Haig added: “Benedict Cumberbatch is the dream person to play Tom Hazard and was always who I pictured in my mind. And Tomas Alfredson is the ideal director for this story. The whole team is incredible, and it is so great to feel a story is in the best possible hands.”
StudioCanal CEO Anna Marsh said: “We are delighted to be reuniting with our friends and long term collaborators, Tomas, Benedict, Matt, Robyn and the team at SunnyMarch, and to now also be working with DC Moore on this hugely exciting and ambitious new series.
“We were immediately captivated when we read Matt’s novel, which DC Moore has adapted masterfully, and to now have Benedict starring as Tom Hazard and Tomas directing the show is a wonderful combination.
“We can’t get wait to get started.”