Benedict Cumberbatch to star in Gypsy Boy adaptation
Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe-nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange, The Imitation Game, Sherlock) is set to star in Gypsy Boy, the film adaptation based on Mikey Walsh’s best-selling memoirs. The film’s producers, Dee Koppang O’Leary (Netflix’s The Crown) and Kevin Loader (My Cousin Rachel, The Death of Stalin), made the announcement today.
The two autobiographies, Gypsy Boy and its sequel Gypsy Boy: On The Run, chronicle Walsh’s experiences growing up in England’s Romany community in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The notorious Walsh family was part of the last generation of the Romany Gypsy people, known for their ability to fight. The sport of boxing is embedded in the Gypsy tradition – to fight for one’s family name and honour and reap the glory of its success. When young Mikey Walsh is born, father Frank (Cumberbatch) places a pair of golden gloves on a chain around his neck in the hope that his son will maintain the family’s reputation. But even as an infant, Frank notices there is something different in Mikey, which leads to frustration and anger building over time. As he grows into his teens, Mikey is forced to make an agonising decision – to stay and keep fighting, and face the shame head on, or escape, never to come back…
Casting is currently underway to find a young actor to play Mikey opposite Cumberbatch.
Morgan Matthews, the two-time BAFTA Award winning director whose first narrative feature was the highly-acclaimed X+Y (aka A Brilliant Young Mind), will direct. Production is scheduled to start in the summer of 2018. Award-winning playwright and screenwriter James Graham (The Vote, Coalition), who previously collaborated with Matthews on X+Y, adapted Walsh’s books, a wildly entertaining and inspirational coming-of-age story, set within a fascinating culture and the oncoming cultural change that closes in on the world around them. Graham worked closely with Walsh to capture the essence of the novels in the script.
Protagonist Pictures is handling worldwide sales on the project and is introducing it to buyers at the ongoing Toronto International Film Festival.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)