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New Netflix conspiracy thriller series lands Benedict Cumberbatch as lead

Benedict Cumberbatch in Black Mass
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Benedict Cumberbatch will star in The 39 Steps, a Netflix limited series based on the same novel as Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 movie of the same name, according to Deadline.

The series will reportedly consist of six hour-long episodes, following an ordinary man, Richard Hannay (Cumberbatch), who becomes an unwitting pawn in a vast, global conspiracy to reset the world order – 39 Steps that will change the world as we know it, with only Hannay standing in the way.

Edward Berger, who worked with Cumberbatch on the 2018 miniseries Patrick Melrose, will direct, while The Revenant screenwriter Mark L. Smith will pen the series. Berger has also recently directed and executive produced episodes of the Bryan Cranston-led TV series Your Honor, while Smith wrote the George Clooney-directed sci-fi drama The Midnight Sky

Hitchcock's movie starred Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll, and the novel on which it's based was written by John Buchan and first published in 1915. Netflix's new series, however, will update the story for contemporary times, promising to be a provocative and action-packed conspiracy thriller. Filming is set to start next year.

Leading man Cumberbatch was last seen in a supporting role in the legal drama The Mauritanian alongside Jodie Foster and Tahar Rahim and he's currently filming the MCU sequel Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, in which he reprises the titular role. He'll also don the superhero cape to help out Peter Parker in Spider-Man 3

While we wait for The 39 Steps to arrive on the streamer, check out our list of the best Netflix shows that you can watch right now.

I’m an Entertainment Writer at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections – I help bring you all the latest news and the occasional feature, too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.