Benedict Cumberbatch to play Beatles manager Brian Epstein

Benedict Cumberbatch has signed on to play Brian Epstein, manager of The Beatles, in a biopic to be directed by Paul McGuigan ( Lucky Number Slevin , Sherlock ).

Epstein was occasionally dubbed ‘the fifth Beatle’, and he looked after the band from signing them in 1961 until his untimely death from an accidental drug overdose in 1967.

Considered a driving factor in the success of the Fab Four, Epstein battled a number of personal demons, including drug and gambling addictions, while keeping his homosexuality secret (as it was actually illegal in Britain at the time).

The producers indicate that the film will focus on Epstein’s troubles, claiming that the film is about “the man who threw the biggest party of the ’60s but ultimately forgot to invite himself.”

The role should give Cumberbatch an opportunity to shine, and there will no doubt be lookalike-cameos aplenty (not least the four who end up playing The Beatles themselves).

It’s not yet clear where the as-yet-untitled biopic will fit into Cumberbatch’s heaving schedule, as he’s currently juggling (deep breath) a trio of Hobbit movies, Star Trek Into Darkness , Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years A Slave and August: Osage County .

And there’s that third series of Sherlock to factor in too…

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