On their 1998 album Stunt, Canadian rockers Barenaked Ladies asked “Who Needs Sleep?” It looks like the Oscar-nominated Benedict Cumberbatch and Oscar-winning Laura Dern are getting ready to answer the question in a sci-fi drama about a dark future called Morning. Well, actually calling it a “dark” future might be misleading, since part of what’s so dark about the story is what’s so light about it.
Deadline broke the news earlier today that Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s Benedict Cumberbatch will be starring in and executive producing Morning. In the world of Morning, there is no night and no need for sleep. Some kind of medication has been developed that strips away the physical need for slumber, and an artificial sun keeps away the darkness 24/7. But as a new generation rises that has never known sleep at all, rebellion bubbles to the surface.
From the film’s official description, it seems likely Benedict Cumberbatch’s character — Frank — will appear chiefly through flashbacks and perhaps even hallucinations. Frank dies early in the film, and his wife Cathy (Laura Dern) becomes ones of the loudest voices in the movement to take sleep away from the world. But while pursuing her ambitions and taking care of her son Danny (Noah Jupe) — who is one of the rebellious young “Dreamers” — Cathy’s repressed memories begin making their way into the perpetual day, so that she has trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy.
Morning was written by Sam Steiner and will be directed by Justin Kurzel (Nitram). Adam Ackland, one of Morning‘s producers, called the film “a joyful, reflective, and defiant story about a reality not so far from our own where a preoccupation with productivity has destroyed our ability to connect, grieve and love.” Ackland runs SunnyMarch alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, and together they’ve collaborated on projects like Showtime’s Emmy-nominated Patrick Melrose and 2020’s Cold War era spy film The Courier.
There’s no release date or production dates available yet for Morning. In the meantime, Benedict Cumberbatch seems to be having a great couple of years professionally speaking. In particular, his time as Marvel’s Doctor Strange is serving him well. Not only is he coming off the mega-hit Spider-Man: No Way Home, but what’s promising to be another huge Marvel hit — Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness — is set for release in May. He also reprised the role in Disney+’s animated series What If…?
Benedict Cumberbatch’s name is also being mentioned in discussions of the upcoming Oscars, though not in terms of his Marvel roles. There’s a lot talk of that the Western drama The Power of the Dog will be an Academy Award magnet this year, with some even predicting the film could sweep the acting awards. Cumberbatch’s costars Kristen Dunst and Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road) are also on the short list of possible nominations.
Benedict Cumberbatch’s next big screen appearance will be in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, when the sequel hits theaters May 6, 2o22. The film is directed by Sam Raimi and written by Jade Halley Bartlett. Cumberbatch returns as Doctor Strange, Benedict Wong reprises the role of Wong, Rachel McAdams plays Christine Palmer, Chiwetel Ejiofor will play Karl Mordo, Elizabeth Olsen will return to the role of Wanda Maximoff, and Xochitl Gomez will originate the live-action part of America Chavez. There are already long lists of rumored appearances, including from Leonardo DiCaprio and even Tom Cruise.