Doctor Strange star Benedict Cumberbatch is continuing his dalliance with magic for upcoming World War II drama, War Magician. Set to be directed by Jurassic World: Dominion’s Colin Trevorrow, the movie will tell the bizarre, questionably true story of Jasper Maskelyne, an illusionist who used magic to fight Nazis during WWII.
As per reports, Jasper Maskelyne was a “British illusionist who used magic to defeat Erwin Rommel in World War II. Trevorrow’s take features an international “magic gang” from Africa, Europe and the Middle East who conspired with Maskelyne and a female military intelligence officer to defeat the Nazis.”
E. Nicholas Mariani is writing the script for the Colin Trevorrowwhich will be based on the book by David Fisher. The synopsis for the book reveals a little more about what audiences can expect from the big screen adaptation including Maskelyne saving the “vital port of Alexandria from German bombers” and using his illusionary skills to “‘hide’ the Suez Canal” Nazis. The book even claims that Maskelyne “invented all sorts of camouflage methods to make trucks look like tanks and vice versa” with his war efforts culminating “in the brilliant deception plan that won the Battle of El Alamein: the creation of an entire dummy army in the middle of the desert.”
Interestingly, the War Magician book and the story therein has been called into question over the years. While it was originally published as non-fiction, concerns over the legitimacy of the story have since been raised, with several historians believing the tale of Jasper Maskelyne has been greatly exaggerated.
These concerns of authenticity have even stopped previous attempts at an adaptation in their tracks, with director Peter Weir dropping out of a project he had planned with Tom Cruise after finding it impossible to find a solid factual base for any of the claims regarding Maskelyne’s magical prowess. Whether the movie will address any of this remains to be seen, but it is something that could quite easily be addressed depending on how Trevorrow decides to depict the events.
Of course, Benedict Cumberbatch is already well known for playing a different, completely fictional Master of the Mystic Arts, Marvel’s Doctor Strange, with the sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, due to be released on March 25, 2022.
While specific plot details are largely unknown, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will introduce audiences to a previously unexplored side of the MCU, the multiverse. The movie will see Benedict Cumberbatch once again reprise the role of the Sorcerer Supreme, with Chiwetel Ejiofor also set to return as friend-turned-enemy, Karl Mordo. While it was expected that director Scott Derrickson would return to helm the project, this eventually fell through and instead Spider-Man and Evil Dead director Sam Raimi will take the reins.
Cumberbatch recently praised the talents of Raimi saying, “Sam, amazing. He’s so collaborative. God, he comes with the baggage of an icon. He’s an incredible force, especially in this genre. But he’s so humble, he’s so nice, he’s so appreciative, you really wanna serve him. And boy, when he’s happy, you know you’ve done something right. He’s so good at getting you there and getting it there. It’s been a very, very collaborative process, this one.” This comes to us courtesy of Deadline.