Benedict Cumberbatch Under Scrutiny Of Law: Dahl Project

Legal crossfires are never a good thing for a film production. Benedict Cumberbatch and his production company are stuck in one such dispute.

Adaptations Pop Culture TV & Movies

Roald Dahl deserves his appeal. His books and movie adaptations are a treat, to the mind as well as the eyes. It is the entire art of his storytelling that makes production houses and filmmakers jump on every opportunity they get to adapt one of his stories. The issue is and always will be, the rights. One of the biggest barriers that adaptations have to overcome is getting the rights of the author’s works. Dahl is one such author whose works are always in demand. This time it is Benedict Cumberbatch and his production company in the legal crossfire of Dahl rights.

Image Via Smithsonian Magazine

This is not the first time that Cumberbatch has faced problems in relation to Roald Dahl. The Sherlock star was supposed to be working on a project based on Danny, the Champion of the World back in 2019. This project was to be produced by SunnyMarch, Benedict’s production house. Though the production never happened, there was a dispute with Portobello Productions.

The latter was part of the production, but their agreement stated that if SunnyMarch was unable to get funding within the next 3 years, then Portobello had the right to terminate the contract and retrieve the rights of the adapted screenplay. Portobello filed their complaint in December 2021, and it is still in dispute. The lawsuit is specifically to find out whether SunnyMarch was in the wrong when they did not hand over the rights of the screenplay.

Second Benedict Cumberbatch Project

Despite this lawsuit, SunnyMarch is moving forward. Signed onto the latest SunnyMarch Dahl adaptation The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar are Wes Anderson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley and Dev Patel. Anderson is not new to the world of Dahl. Having made the award-winning The Fantastic Mr. Fox, one can be sure that if the legal dispute sorts out, we will get another Anderson and Dahl masterpiece. Cumberbatch, himself, has worked on several adaptations like The Hobbit, The Power of the Dog and The Imitation Game.

Image Via The Wrap

While this film is not directly under legal scrutiny, the ongoing legal battle with Portobello could impact the progress. In the complaint filed, Benedict’s recent movies, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and The Power of the Dog have also been brought under scrutiny.