From Doctor Strange to Dr Seuss: Benedict Cumberbatch is new Grinch
Sherlock star to voice the curmudgeonly festive party pooper previously portrayed on screen by Jim Carrey and Boris Karloff
Benedict Cumberbatch is to take the starring role in a new animated adaptation of Dr Seuss’s classic children’s book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! from the makers of Despicable Me.
The news was announced by Illumination Entertainment, the animation studio offshoot of Universal which produced the supervillain movies and last year’s spin-off Minions.
Cumberbatch succeeds Jim Carrey, who played the role in the live-action 2000 film. Horror icon Boris Karloff voiced the cave-dwelling curmudgeon in an earlier 1966 animated adaptation.
“We were determined to make a choice that would not only define this version of The Grinch as absolutely singular, but most importantly, we were looking for a voice to express comedic wickedness while embodying vulnerability,” Illumination Entertainment CEO Chris Meledandri told delegates at CinemaCon in Las Vegas. “It is that vulnerability that allows us to create a character that is not only highly entertaining, but also has an irresistible appeal.” Meledandri said the film, which is due in November 2017, would be “both modern and classic”.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is about a moody monster who steals all the presents and festive accoutrements from the home of a family who live near his cave, but is amazed to note that his victims do not lose their Christmas spirit. Dr Seuss, real name Theodor Geisel, published the book in 1957 and it remains among the American author’s best-known works.
Cumberbatch is hoovering up the high profile Hollywood roles, having recentlydebuted as Doctor Strange in the first trailer for the forthcoming Marvel comic book epic. He will also voice the tiger Shere Khan in Andy Serkis’s version of The Jungle Book for studio Warner Bros in 2018 – Disney’s rival version, out this weekend, features Idris Elba as the vengeful big cat – and is tipped to portray famed illusionist Jasper Maskelyne in period drama The War Magician.