Benedict Cumberbatch & Jake Gyllenhaal's New Thriller Has A 'Peaky Blinders' Link

by Emily Dixon
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

There's a new thriller in the works from the writer of Peaky Blinders, and its headline cast is pretty incomparable. Benedict Cumberbatch and Jake Gyllenhaal will star as reunited old friends in Rio, set in the titular Brazilian city, as Deadline reports; Cumberbatch will play "a hugely successful financier", while Gyllenhaal will play a journalist. It's written by Steven Knight, the screenwriter behind Locke, Taboo, and the upcoming The Girl in the Spider's Web as well as Peaky Blinders.

Edward Berger, nominated for a Primetime Emmy for directing Cumberbatch in Patrick Melrose, will direct Rio, according to Variety; he's taking over from Call Me By Your Name's Luca Guadagnino, who dropped out "due to scheduling commitments." And that's pretty much all there is to know so far; no further plot details, supporting cast members, or potential release dates have been announced, though Deadline says there's also a "strong female lead character" in the film.

This isn't the first thriller in which Gyllenhaal's played a journalist: cast your mind back to 2014's Nightcrawler, if you will. Gyllenhaal plays conveniently ethics-free cameraman Lou Bloom, who manipulates crime scenes, bullies his employee (Riz Ahmed), and risks lives in pursuit of the perfect shot. At the time, Gyllenhaal told the Guardian that he envied journalists a little, explaining, "When people read whatever you write, they don’t get to see your face as much as your words. That wields a certain type of power." Could that fascination have motivated him to take up the journalist role in Rio?

As for Cumberbatch, while he might not have played a financier directly, he's certainly portrayed the staggeringly wealthy — most recently in Sky Atlantic's Patrick Melrose, an adaptation of the novels by Edward St. Aubyn. Cumberbatch's titular character is an aristocrat grappling with addiction and the legacy of childhood abuse; his performance attracted critical acclaim, with Vanity Fair suggesting that "it may be Cumberbatch’s strongest work to date." He's even received a Primetime Emmy nod for the role.

With no release date attached to Rio yet — the thriller hasn't even started filming — Cumberbatch/Gyllenhaal fans will have to sustain themselves with other projects from the Hollywood icons. Cumberbatch's next film? He's voicing the Grinch in the appropriately-titled animation The Grinch, due for release in November. He's also voicing Shere Khan in Jungle Book adaptation Mowgli, alongside Rohan Chand in the title role and a supporting cast including Christian Bale, Naomie Harris, Cate Blanchett, Freida Pinto, and Andy Serkis. Mowgli's set for a 2019 release.

As for Gyllenhaal, he's reunited with Nightcrawler co-star Riz Ahmed in upcoming Western dark comedy The Sisters Brothers, also starring John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix. According to the Guardian, it'll be released on September 21 in the U.S., though no word yet of a UK release date. Gyllenhaal also plays one half of a crumbling marriage (the other played by Carey Mulligan) in '60s-set drama Wildlife, set for release in November. A lot to keep you going, then, until Rio hits cinemas.