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Oh sure, they look friendly, but inside each of them is a mass of seething rivalry. (Photo: Getty Images for PSIFF)

It’s Friday, and the Cumberbatch news keeps coming! (Or should that be cumbering?)

On Wednesday he interviewed pal Tom Hiddleston, followed by a surprise appearance on stage with Pink Floyd frontman David Gilmour. And now comes word that he and Michael Shannon have been cast to play Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse respectively in a new film called The Current War.

It will tell the story of the two rivals as they competed to create a sustainable electricity system and market it to the U.S. As the history buffs among you will know, Edison championed the use of a direct current for electric power distribution, while Westinghouse backed an alternating current, which was in use in Europe.

Sounds electrifying.


Except, hang on a minute. Isn’t fellow Brit Eddie Redmayne about to star in a film about exactly the same story? Two months ago we told you about The Last Days of Night, an upcoming film about the battle between Edison and Westinghouse to bring electric light to America in the late 19th century.

Eddie won’t play Edison, however, but Paul Cravath, the brilliant young lawyer who defended Westinghouse when Edison sued him for infringing his patent. It’s written by Graham Moore, who won an Oscar for his screenplay for The Imitation Game, starring… Benedict Cumberbatch.

Curiouser and curiouser. That film, as we’re sure you remember, bagged Benedict his first Oscar nomination, though on the night he lost out to, yup, you guessed it, Eddie Redmayne.

Hmm. Looks like two films about a historic battle are about to go into battle themselves. According to Deadline, The Current War is aiming to go quickly into production this December, while cameras on The Last Days of Night are due to start rolling in January.

So, tell us: Are you Team Redmayne or Team Cumberbatch?

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By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.