Benedict Cumberbatch to Play Poisoned KBG Agent Alexander Litvinenko in HBO Spy Drama

Benedict Cumberbatch attends
Lia Toby/Getty Images for BFI

Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch is set to take on the role of KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in HBO‘s upcoming limited series, Londongrad, as first reported by Variety.

The series is based on the true story of Litvinenko, a KGB defector killed by poisoning with the radioactive isotope Polonium-210 in 2006 in England. As well as portraying Litvinenko on-screen, Cumberbatch will also serve as an executive producer on the project under his Sunnymarch banner. David Scarpa (The Man in the High Castle) is on board as writer and exec producer. Bryan Fogel (Icarus) will direct.

Cumberbatch is perhaps best known for his role as Sherlock Holmes in the BBC drama Sherlock, for which he received several Emmy and BAFTA nominations. He also starred in the Showtime series Patrick Melrose and the BBC/HBO limited series Parade’s End. His film work includes his Oscar-nominated performance in The Imitation Game, two The Hobbit movies, 12 Years a Slave, and more. He also plays Dr. Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Scarpa most recently served as co-showrunner on Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle and is currently working on the script for Denis Villeneuve’s Cleopatra project. His previous credits include writing the screenplays to The Last Castle, the 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still, and All the Money in the World, about the John Paul Getty III kidnapping.

This is the second television series about the Litvinenko poisoning currently in the works. Doctor Who alum David Tennant will play the murdered spy in a four-part series, Litvinenko, written by Lupin creator George Kay for British broadcaster ITV. It is said to focus on the tireless work of the Scotland Yard officers who dedicated 10 years of their lives to discover who was responsible for the poisoning.

Londongrad, TBA, HBO