Benedict Cumberbatch is boarding The Hood but no, before any comic book fans get excited, it has nothing to do with the Marvel villain of the same name (after all, Cumberbatch already has a pretty big role in the MCU). Instead, the movie promises to have Cumberbatch playing hard against type. His character will be a leader in a historical revolt, and the film is being compared to epics like 1995’s Braveheart and 2000’s Gladiator.
Deadline delivered the news about the film, which is written and directed by Paul Greengrass. The Hood will reportedly be set in late 14th century England, during the time of the Peasants’ Revolt. Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing a farmer who becomes a leader in the revolt. We don’t know the actual name of his character, but depending on whether Cumberbatch is playing a leader or the leader of the revolt, he may be playing the legendary Wat Tyler who led the revolt that forced the young King Richard II into abolishing the serfdom. Tyler’s Wikipedia entry claims he was a roof tiler rather than a farmer, but of course if Cumberbatch is playing Tyler then The Hood would hardly be the first time filmmakers played fast and loose with the details.
History seems to be one of writer/director Paull Greengrass’ favorite subjects. His feature directorial debut was 1989’s Resurrected about a British soldier who goes missing during the Falklands War and is accused of desertion when he resurfaces. His filmography includes similar history and biography driven projects like 2002’s Bloody Sunday, 2006’s United 93, and 2013’s Captain Phillips. Greengrass’ last film was a period piece like The Hood — the 2020 Western News of the World starring Tom Hanks. But the director has never gone back quite as far as the 14th century like he will soon with Benedict Cumberbatch.
Greengrass’ involvement also promises good things about the action aspect of the Benedict Cumberbatch led film. Not all of Greengrass’ films have been historical fiction. In fact, with the exceptions of 2002’s The Bourne Identity and 2012’s The Bourne Legacy (the Jeremy Renner one), Greengrass has helmed all the Bourne films.
For Benedict Cumberbatch, it may be a nice change to leave the superhero world to other actors for a while. The star had major roles in two recent huge Marvel blockbusters, Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, back-to-back. The more recent film was no doubt the more demanding of the two, especially considering (don’t worry, no spoilers here, you know this much if you’ve seen a commercial or a trailer) he played multiple multiversal variant versions of the titular hero in the film, along with the more familiar version of the hero.
Last we heard, besides his no doubt grueling press tour for Doctor Strange 2, Benedict Cumberbatch was busy filming Wes Anderson’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar. Cumberbatch will play Sugar and he’s joined by an impressive cast including Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Rupert Friend, Richard Ayoade, and Dev Patel. There’s no release date yet but it’s a Netflix original and will ultimately premiere on the streaming platform.