April Fool’s Day 2015: Benedict Cumberbatch to star as Queen Elizabeth I in new Hollywood film

National treasure Benedict Cumberbatch to take on challenging role as Queen Elizabeth I in new Hollywood drama The Bisley Boy

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock. Credit: BBC pictures

He’s one of the most successful and popular actors of his generation in Britain, and now actor Benedict Cumberbatch is taking on his most challenging role yet, portraying Queen Elizabeth I in new big budget period drama The Bisley Boy.

The film, to be directed by Peter Kosminksy (Wolf Hall), revolves around the Bisley Boy conspiracy theory that Queen Elizabeth was actually male, masquerading as the Princess who had actually died of a fever as a child.

The real Elizabeth was allegedly sent to Overcourt House in Bisley around 1543/1544 to enjoy the country air, but rapidly fell ill and died, so her governess desperately searched the local village for a suitable girl to replace her.

According to theorists, the search for a girl was futile but a fair, red headed, feminine boy was found and, as the King rarely visited his daughter, he did not notice the substitution at all. In fact, the plan worked so well that the King never discovered the truth and the real Elizabeth’s body was never moved from the stone coffin in the garden at Overcourt where it had been hidden.

Starring alongside Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne as the Queen’s long-standing love interest Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, Cumberbatch will no doubt put his impressionistic talent to good use to play Good Queen Bess.

‘‘I’ve always wanted to play a woman like Queen Elizabeth I. And I’m not too intimidated as I think I’ll be quite convincing. We both have short hair and I am descended from King Richard III and have royal blood, so there’s a clear resemblance for a start.’’

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