Jasper Maskelyne was a British magician in the early-to-mid twentieth century who claimed that his magic was largely responsible for defeating the German troops during World War II. Benedict Cumberbatch is a British man who has beautiful ivory skin, piercing eyes, and the pointed ears of an elf. And so, in a completely unsurprising turn, Cumberbatch, who already defeated Nazis in last year’s The Imitation Game, will fulfill his wizard destiny and play Maskelyne in an upcoming film, The Guardian reports.
The film, based on the 1983 book The War Magician: The Incredible True Story of Jasper Maskelyne and his Magic Gang by David Fisher, is being adapted by Gary Whitta, who wrote The Book of Eli and also a bunch of video games — according to THR.
It’s worth noting that, although Maskelyne’s claims were never verified, the film is purportedly following the narrative of the book, which treats his claims as fact. That means we’re going to be seeing Cumberbatch as the mastermind behind a scruffy group of would-be wizards called “The Magic Gang,” who were — the fictional book and real life person claim — responsible for hiding an entire harbor near the Suez Canal, as well as concealing troops in the North African desert, leading to the defeat of the Germans at the Battle of El Alamein. According to the book, and Maskelyne himself, he was so powerful that Hitler had added him to his personal blacklist of folks who absolutely needed to be killed.
Again, it’s interesting to remember that this is fiction based on reality, though the film will not, it seems, make any attempt at painting Maskelyne as delusional. Still, though, it will be fun to see Cumberbatch conjure things while he squints really hard and waves his hands around, hopefully while wearing plenty of velvet and lace — military issue, of course.