Books  |  Sep 8, 2017

Benedict Cumberbatch to star in James Graham’s adaptation of Mikey Walsh’s Gypsy Boy for BBC Films

Benedict Cumberbatch is set to star in a BBC Films-backed production of Mikey Walsh’s Gypsy Boy, with a screenplay written by James Graham.

Adapted from Mikey’s best-selling memoirs Gypsy Boy and its sequel Gypsy Boy: On the Run, the film tells the story of Mikey’s upbringing in a closeted Romany Gypsy community. Cumberbatch will play Mikey’s father, Frank Walsh, who pressures his son to maintain the family’s reputation as bare-knuckle boxers. Caught between his culture and his feelings of not belonging, Mikey is forced to choose between staying and fighting, or leaving his community for ever.

Gypsy Boy has been adapted for screen by James Graham, whose last feature, the critically acclaimed film X and Y was on the prestigious ‘Brit List’ and went on to star Sally Hawkins, Rafe Spall and Eddie Marsan. Following their collaboration on X and Y, James will team up with director Morgan Matthews for the second time on Gypsy Boy for BBC Films.

Cumberbatch has said of the role: “I was immediately drawn to Mikey’s courageous and heart-breaking story. And his father Frank is unlike any character I’ve played before. He’s a complex man torn between tradition and his love for a son struggling to come to terms with an identity that’s completely at odds with Frank and his culture. It’s a tension that threatens to tear everyone in their family and that community apart.”