“X-Men” star Nicholas Hoult is in talks to join Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon in the Weinstein Company’s drama “The Current War,” an individual familiar with the project has told TheWrap exclusively.
He would play inventor Nikola Tesla, while Cumberbatch will play Thomas Edison and Shannon will play George Westinghouse. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”) will direct, and recently met with Hoult in London to discuss the project, a second person familiar with the project told TheWrap.
Weinstein executives have been a fan of Hoult’s since Tom Ford‘s directing debut, “A Single Man,” and are looking for other projects to feature him, the insider added.
Michael Mitnick wrote the script, which was voted to the 2011 Black List of Hollywood’s best unproduced screenplays. Set in the late 1880s, the story follows the battle between Edison and Westinghouse to supply electricity, with Edison backing direct current and Westinghouse pushing alternating current.
Tesla came to the United States in 1884 and briefly worked with Thomas Edison before the two parted ways. He sold several patent rights, including those to his alternating-current machinery, to George Westinghouse. His 1891 invention, the “Tesla coil,” is still used in radio technology.
The Weinstein Company is eyeing an early December shoot for the project.
Hoult, who is best known to audiences for playing “X-Men’s” Hank McCoy, aka Beast, last played the mutant in summer’s “X-Men: Apocalypse.”
Hoult is no stranger to playing historical characters. Hoult is playing reclusive author JD Salinger in Danny Strong‘s “Rebel in the Rye,” which is slated for a 2017 release.
Hoult is repped by UTA and is managed by 42 in the UK. A representative for the Weinstein Company had no comment.