Benedict Cumberbatch to star as Beatles manager Brian Epstein in new biopic

Enigmatic Epstein managed the band until his 1967 death from an accidental drug overdose

Benedict Cumberbatch is set to play Brian Epstein in a new biopic.

The Sherlock actor will star as the enigmatic manager of The Beatles in a film that focuses on Epstein himself, rather than the story of the band through a manager’s eyes. Brian Epstein was a closet homosexual who battled gambling and drug addictions before dying from an accidental overdose in 1967. He managed the band from 1962 until his death and was often dubbed “The Fifth Beatle”.

The biopic is being produced by Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman and Simon Halfon, who told The Hollywood Reporter that the film will tell the story of “the man who threw the biggest party of the 1960s but ultimately forgot to invite himself”. The script has been written by Todd Graff, best known for 2003’s Camp.

Sherlock director Paul McGuigan will team up with Cumberbatch once again to helm the biopic, which does not have an official title or start date yet. Meanwhile, a rival Epstein film is currently in the works based on a graphic novel called The Fifth Beatle by Vivek J Tiwary.

Cumberbatch, 36, has been increasingly in demand since the BBC’s Sherlock became a big international hit. He is set to play the villain in the new Star Trek movie, due next year, and also has a role in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy.

At the end of August (2012), he was cast alongside Meryl Streep in August Osage County, a Hollywood adaptation of an award-winning stage play. He has also found time to film a cameo in The Simpsons.