Benedict Cumberbatch will star in the recently announced movie adaptation of Gypsy Boy, a BBC Films-backed adaptation of Gay Times columnist Mikey Walsh’s best-selling memoirs.
Directed by Morgan Matthews and with a screenplay by James Graham, Gypsy Boy is adapted from Mikey’s autobiographical book of the same name and its sequel Gypsy Boy: On The Run.
Benedict will play Mikey’s father Frank Walsh who pressures his son to maintain the family’s bare-knuckle boxing tradition.
On taking the role, Benedict said: “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.
Casting is underway for other roles including that of Mikey. Production on the movie will begin in summer 2018.
The Walsh family was part of the last generation of the Romany Gypsy people, known for their ability to fight. With the sport of boxing is embedded in the Gypsy tradition – to fight for one’s family name and honour and reek the glory of its success.
When father Frank (Cumberbatch) places golden gloves on a chain around Mikey’s neck, he hopes his son will maintain his families reputation. But as an infant, Frank notices there is something different in Mikey, and his son is forced to make an agonising decision of staying and fighting, or escaping and never going back.
“I fell in love with this story as soon as I heard Mikey speaking about his childhood on the radio a few years ago,” explains director Morgan Matthews.
“Mikey’s extraordinary life touches upon the universal subjects of identity, love, conflict, courage and sacrifice – set within a brutal and extreme yet paradoxically beautiful and intoxicating hidden world. I’m so excited to have Benedict on board – it’s a dream to be able to work with him.”
An official release date for the movie is expected in the coming months.
More information can be found here.