‘Sherlock’s’ Benedict Cumberbatch Joins Cast of Iraq War Drama ‘The Yellow Birds’

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The cover art for Kevin Powers' novel "The Yellow Birds" (Photo: Back Bay Books via Amazon)
Just in case you were worried that Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch didn’t have enough to keep himself occupied during the hiatus of the detective drama series, well, you can rest easy.  According to Variety, Cumberbatch has officially joined the cast of upcoming Iraq War drama The Yellow Birds, alongside Mud’s Tye Sheridan and The Maze Runner’s Will Poulter.  

The film will adapt Kevin Powers’ novel of the same name, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. It follows the story of 21-year-old Private Bartle (Poulter), who promises the mother of a young soldier he meets in boot camp (Sheridan) that he will watch over her son and bring him home safely after they are deployed to Iraq. Cumberbatch will play an older sergeant that takes the two young soldiers under his wing.  

There’s actually a lot more to this story – and particular to the Sterling character –but you know, spoilers and whatnot.  

The film will be directed by Aint Them Bodies Saints’ David Lowery, who also adapted the script.

“I never had any interest in making a war film until Jeff and Evan brought me the novel by Kevin Powers,” said Lowery. “And perhaps I still don't, because while Powers' story takes place during wartime, it isn't about the conflict. It is about characters who find themselves caught up in war, but who struggle to not let it define them. I fell in love with them. It is a beautiful and deeply personal tale, relayed through images and memories, and I am excited to have the chance to bring it to the screen.”

The Yellow Birds is semi-autobiographical; Powers served as a machine gunner with the U.S. Army in Iraq in 2004 and 2005.

The project is financed by Courtney Solomon and Mark Canton’s Cinelou Films in a partnership with Story Mining and Supply Co.

Thoughts on this news? Have any of you read The Yellow Birds? What did you think of the story? Thumbs up or thumbs down on the idea of Cumberbatch playing Sterling?