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The Talented Mr. Cumberbatch

I don’t get Benedict Cumberbatch. Maybe it’s because I’m a guy. Maybe because I never watched Sherlock or that I’ve never actually cared about one of his performances. He was okay in The Imitation Game and he’s an enjoyable Stephen Strange. Apparently, he’s extremely popular with the ladies, and his fanbase is insane. I’ve decided to read THE MAN IN THE ROCKEFELLER SUIT which is one of his next projects. The film is written by David Bar Katz and will be directed by the great Walter Salles (Central Station, The Motorcycle Diaries). It’s based on the book by about the actual story of Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter.

Boston 2008, Clark Rockefeller (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a wealthy and eccentric man. Because of his divorce settlement, he only has supervised visitation with his daughter Snooks three times a year. During one of those visit, he violently ditches the person supervising the visit and escapes with his daughter. Immediately, the FBI is called upon the kidnapping and tries to track them down.

His ex-wife Sandra Boss is asked by the investigators to help find Clark and her daughter. As law enforcement interviews her, they slowly discover that Clark Rockefeller does not exist. His photo is sent to news outlets, and they set up a phone line. We witness in flashbacks that Clark Rockefeller was previously Christopher Chichester, a British royal living in California obsessed with Star Trek and Alfred Hitchcock. The story slowly uncovers the trail of the strange German teenager who left a trail of crimes in America.

This story reminded me of The Talented Mr. Ripley and Catch Me if You Can. A good con man movie is always intriguing and skews into darker territories. This one is quite perplexing and doesn’t try to sugarcoat any awful details. Clark Rockefeller is a dangerous sociopath riddled with strange quirks that include the following:

  • When he first meets his future wife, he’s playing a real-life game of CLUE at a dinner party.
  • He professionally taught ballet to his little girl and her friends.
  • He produced an episode of Alfred Hitchcock presents.
  • He choreographed a local production of My Fair Lady.
  • He speaks elvish.

Benedict Cumberbatch will have a field day playing this role. It could potentially land him another Oscar nomination. Whoever plays Sandra, his ex-wife will have a powerful role. There’s nothing for a person that to have been fooled by another over an extended period. Clarke’s deception had a profound impact on his ex-wife, and it takes a solid actress to portray that long-suffering pain.

The Man in the Rockefeller Suit has all the elements required to make a vigorous and compelling drama. Walter Salles will bring an exciting vision to this sordid tale. It will be a thrill to watch Benedict Cumberbatch become Mr. Really-Strange!

No release date is set for The Man in the Rockefeller Suit.

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About The Author

Jean-François Allaire

Jean-François Allaire is a true movie geek. In the past 20 years, he's written for Scr(i)pt magazine, Screenwriters Monthly and many websites (Corona's Coming Attractions, TNMC, Filmjerk and Joblo.) For the past decade, he's worked in the Canadian film industry as a distributor, screenwriting consultant and VOD expert. You can send him an email to:

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