The ’Batch is back—the Doctor Strange leading man has announced he will star alongside Claire Foy in a forthcoming Louis Wain biopic from BAFTA-nominated director Will Sharpe titled, well, The Nine Lives of Louis Wain.
Though Wain’s story isn’t taught much in primary school art classes, the famed English artist best known for his whimsical and psychedelic paintings of anthropomorphized cats had quite the life to document.
Wain controversially wed his sister’s governess at the age of 23, and shortly after their marriage, his wife fell ill to breast cancer. Wain began etching their cat as a way to keep his wife’s spirits up after the diagnosis, selling the illustrations to journals and children’s books. His wife succumbed to cancer three years into their marriage, and Wain’s mental health began to severely deteriorate shortly thereafter.
The artist is said to have suffered from schizophrenia or an acute form of Asperger’s syndrome, and struggled with anxiety and depression, conditions that psychiatrists claim can be discerned in his abstract work. The artist also endured financial difficulty throughout his life and frequently sold his drawings without reproduction rights to offset the hardship.
Louis Wain is Oscar fodder if we’ve ever seen it. Cumberbatch is among the Academy’s leading men for prestige period pieces: His portrayal of Alan Turing in The Imitation Game secured the actor a Best Actor nomination in 2014 and arguably his best-known role as Sherlock in the BBC miniseries earned him a number of Primetime Emmy, BAFTA and Golden Globe awards.
Foy, on the other hand, is also a period-drama powerhouse: Her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in the early seasons of The Crown received a number of BAFTA, Emmy and Golden Globe accolades, and her turn as Janet Armstrong in First Man earned the actress several Best Supporting Actress nods in 2018.
The actors previously costarred in 2011’s Wreckers.
StudioCanal, SunnyMarch, Shoebox, Film4 and Amazon are at the project’s forefront. A release date has yet to be set, but Deadline reports filming will begin in London on Aug. 10.
Check back for further updates on the project.