Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich Join ‘Penguins of Madagascar’ (Exclusive)

Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich Join 'Penguins of Madagascar' (Exclusive)

The spin-off features the beloved penguins from DreamWorks Animation's hit "Madagascar" franchise

In a casting coup, DreamWorks Animation has set Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich to voice new characters in its spin-off "The Penguins of Madagascar," TheWrap has learned.

The animated movie, which features the penguins from DWA's "Madagascar" franchise, is scheduled for release on March 27, 2015.

An individual familiar with the project tells TheWrap that Malkovich will voice the film's charming villain, while Cumberbatch will voice a high-ranking animal CIA agent hot on his trail.

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Simon J. Smith ("Bee Movie") and Eric Darnell ("Antz") are directing from a script by Michael Colton and John Aboud. Lara Breay ("Megamind") is producing, while executive producers include Mireille Soria, Tom McGrath and Darnell, all of whom are responsible for the original "Madagascar" trilogy.

"The Penguins of Madagascar" has already spawned a successful Nickelodeon TV show, a straight-to-DVD movie and a comic book written by David Server and Jackson Lanzing.

Also read: 'Turbo' Aims to Break DreamWorks Animation's Box-Office Addiction

Cumberbatch's British accent is in high demand these days, as he'll also be heard as the voice of both Smaug the Dragon and the Necromancer in Peter Jackson's "Hobbit" sequels. He'll soon be seen as Julian Assange in "The Fifth Estate," as well as "12 Years a Slave" and "August: Osage County." He's repped by UTA and Conway van Gelder Grant.

Malkovich, who previously voiced a role in Robert Zemeckis' "Beowulf," can currently be seen in "Red 2." He recently produced "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" and Diego Luna's "Chavez," which stars Michael Pena as the famed labor leader. He's repped by Principato-Young Entertainment.