Apparently, even the White House wasn’t enough. Hot off his acclaimed turn as dastardly politician Frank Underwood on the second season of Netflix’s hit drama House of Cards, Kevin Spacey has signed on to play former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in a biopic titled Captain of the Gate.
The biopic, which hails from Sierra/Affinity (Oculus, the upcoming Kill the Messenger), will focus on Churchill’s rise to power as he heroically took a stand against Parliament in order to protect England from Adolf Hitler’s powerful Third Reich. The script was penned by Ben Kaplan, who recently worked on the History Channel’s documentary Reagan. Kaplan also wrote episodes of historical documentary series Vietnam in HD and WWII in HD, both also for the History Channel, but Captain of the Gate will mark his feature debut.
Churchill has understandably been the subject of countless biopics, including the terrific HBO film Into the Storm (in which he was played by Brendan Gleeson). Other actors who have taken on the role include Peter Sellers, Richard Burton, Timothy West, Robert Hardy, Albert Finney and Timothy Spall.
Spacey doesn’t exactly look the part, so it will be interesting to see how extensive a transformation he undergoes to play Churchill, but there’s no faulting the actor’s skill. He has shown throughout his illustrious career that he can portray wildly different characters, and he’s also no stranger to playing real people (Spacey previously starred as singer Bobby Darin in Beyond the Sea, Chief of Staff Ron Klain in Recount and corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff in Casino Jack).
Sierra/Affinity is currently looking for a director for the film, which the studio is positioning as a potential awards contender.
Though the glut of historical biopics in recent years has been largely exhausting, especially when the films aren’t actually much good (Saving Mr. Banks, The Butler), we’ve also seen terrific historical character pieces like Lincoln, Behind the Candelabra and Rush, so I’m not calling it quits with the genre just yet. Hopefully, Kaplan’s script will provide the appropriate dramatic depth and Spacey can do right by his legendary character so that Captain of the Gate can emerge as something more than just another uninspired biopic.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter