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Benedict Cumberbatch to star in “How to Stop Time” for StudioCanal

The film is based on the Matt Haig novel

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SunnyMarch and StudioCanal announced that they have preempted the film rights to Matt Haig’s upcoming novel, “How to Stop Time”. Oscar and BAFTA nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch is attached to play the lead role and will Executive Produce through his SunnyMarch production company alongside Jamie Byng, CEO of Canongate Books.

That gives you plenty of time to pick up the book, which is set to release in July. You can pre-order the novel from authorized retailers like Amazon.

StudioCanal will be fully financing the film, and will distribute in their territories, UK, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. StudioCanal will be also be handling international sales. The deal was negotiated between SunnyMarch’s Managing Director Adam Ackland, who will produce the film, and Nick Marston of Curtis Brown who brokered the deal on behalf of Matt Haig and Conville and Walsh.

As for the novel itself, “How to Stop Time” is the first adult novel in four years by Matt Haig, a number-one bestselling author whose books have been translated into over thirty languages. The studio describes the film stating, “It tells the story of Tom Hazard (Cumberbatch), a man who may look like an ordinary 41-year-old but, owing to an extremely rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries.”

The studio went on to say that “How to Stop Time” is, “a wildly imagined love story that spans centuries and continents and cements Haig’s reputation as one of the most original and exciting novelists of his generation”.

Matt Haig commented on the announcement of the film saying, “The prospect of Benedict Cumberbatch playing Tom Hazard is a hugely exciting one and I could not be happier about working with Adam and Jamie, and to be reunited with StudioCanal.”

Adam Ackland adds, “We have been huge fans of Matt’s for a long time and always admired his wonderfully playful and deeply honest work. HOW TO STOP TIME delivers all of this and much much more…we are truly excited to be taking this on with such a talented team already in place.”

StudioCanal UK CEO, Danny Perkins, added, “We are delighted to be continuing our successful relationship with Matt Haig as well as build upon our long-running and dynamic partnership with SunnyMarch, Benedict Cumberbatch and Adam Ackland. This compelling novel will make for a powerful film that falls in line with STUDIOCANAL’s ongoing commitment to British talent, storytelling and production. We look forward to bringing it to audiences around the world.”

Haig’s most recent children’s book, “The Girl Who Saved Christmas,” was published in late 2016 in over 20 countries, and is the sequel to his critically acclaimed hit “A Boy Called Christmas”. The audiobook versions have been narrated by Stephen Fry and Carey Mulligan. StudioCanal and Blueprint Pictures acquired the screen rights to the series in 2015, and have been fast-tracking development of a feature film adaptation.

Haig’s other books include his ground-breaking memoir “Reasons to Stay Alive,” which stayed in the Sunday Times’ top-ten bestseller list for 46 weeks, and the multi-prize winning “The Humans” which has been published all over the world. He was also a screenwriter on Heyday Films and StudioCanal’s 2014 hit “Paddington”.

The most recent work from Benedict Cumberbatch was the Marvel/Disney’s hit “Doctor Strange,” that film also featured Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton and Rachel McAdams. Cumberbatch will reprise his role in “Thor: Ragnarok” with Chris Hemsworth. Cumberbatch will then return to the role of Doctor Strange for “Avengers: Infinity War” for Marvel as well.