It has been reported that Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston and Eddie Redmayne are all in the running for lead roles in the upcoming First World War film Journey’s End.
Journey’s End is a 1928 play written by R.C. Sherriff, set in the trenches during the First World War. It was first performed on stage with a young Laurence Olivier in 1928.
The play tells the story of several officers in their dugout, and is set over four days in March 1918 towards the end of the First World War.
The characters include Captain Stanhope, who is a natural leader, but has turned to alcohol to cope with the horror of the trenches. Lieutenant Osborne is the voice of reason amongst the characters, and brings out the softer side of Stanhope. Second Lieutenant Raleigh is young and naive, but greatly looks up to Captain Stanhope.
It has been adapted on stage many times over the decades across Europe and the US, and was most recently performed at the Greenwich Theatre in 2013.
A film adaptation was made in 1930, directed by James Whale and staring Colin Clive as Captain Stanhope. There has also been a TV film made in 1988, staring Jeremy Northam as Captain Stanhope.
Although there has been talk of a new version of Journey’s End for a number of years, there have been rights issues that have stopped the film being made.
However, it has been reported that Prince Andrew has written to Warner Bros. to ask them not to stop a production of the film being made, as it is an important project as 2014 marks 100 years since the beginning of the First World War.
The letter appears to have been successful, as Warner Bros. have now agreed to licence the rights to UK based Fluidity Films in order for the play to be adapted into a film.
Although no actors have yet been approached, producer Guy De Beaujeu has said that Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston and Eddie Redmayne are the three actors who are their ideal candidates for the film.
It is understood that Benedict Cumberbatch is wanted for the role of Captain Stanhope, whilst Tom Hiddleston is wanted for the role of Lieutenant Osborne. This leaves a perfect gap for Eddie Redmayne to play Second Lieutenant Raleigh.
All three actors have experience in First World War dramas, with both Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston having starred in War Horse directed by Steven Spielberg, and Benedict Cumberbatch in the TV series Parade’s End. Eddie Redmayne has recently starred in a TV adaptation of the Sebastian Faulks novel Birdsong.
The film will be directed by David Grindley, who has previously directed West End and Broadway versions of the play.
Until more casting information is announced, we can only speculate (and hope!) that Cumberbatch, Hiddleston and Redmayne will join Journey’s End.
Read the article at focusfilm.co.uk