Kingsley Amis’ seminal novel has only been adapted once and not very well. Lucky Jim was the first “campus novel” a genre that explored the much put upon grad student as they dealt with pompous professors, low pay and their first adult relationships. Full of slapstick humor, Cumberbatch would be perfectly cast as beleaguered James Dixon.
Querry in Graham Greene’s A Burnt-Out Case
One of Greene’s most inward-looking novels, “A Burnt-Out Case” is a study of a man who has lost both his faith and vocation and travels to the ends of the earth (in this case a leper colony in the Congo) to escape from fame and notoriety. One of Greene’s most inward-looking novels, Cumberbatch could bring his special brand of smoldering anger to a work which builds slowly then explodes.
Another first novel with a terrible film adaptation, Fowles’ The Magus is a complex mix of sex and psychology. Set on a remote Mediterranean isle, Nicolas Urfe meets a reclusive millionaire name Conchis, who slowly puts Urfe through the “godgame” in which reality becomes inseparable from falsehood. Think of the most psychologically thrilling episodes of Sherlock then put Cumberbatch on a beautiful beach hosting a sex pageant…sounds intriguing.
Bertie Wooster in P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster
Ah, comedy. Arguably the greatest English comedian of the 20th century, Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster series remains a beloved sendup of the English clash system. (So much so that many a politician argued against giving Wodehouse literary awards, due to him “propagating” a certain view of the British character. Who better than Cumberbatch to play the dim but ultimately goodhearted Bertie Wooster, forever getting himself into scrapes which only his butler from which only his butler Jeeves can extricate him?
The 2008 film version of Brideshead Revisited does not exist. It does not exist because to admit to its existence is to fully embrace evil in its true form. Thus, the last true adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s beloved work is the 1981 TV mini-series with Jeremy Irons. While Jeremy Irons is a wonderful actor, he lacked a certain stuffy sexiness that Cumberbatch could bring to the role of the repressed Charles Ryder.
Walter Bidlake in Aldous Huxley’s Point Counter Point
Conceived by Huxley as a movement of music set within a novel, Point Counter Point focuses of several interlocking stories fashioned around people that Huxley knew in real life. Perfect for Cumberbatch is the role of Walter Bidlake, a milquetoast journalist who has not only knocked up a married woman but has fallen desperately in love with another who will not return his affection.
Someone, at some point, has to film this 999 line poem ‘written’ by John Shade, intermixed with obsessive notes from the self appointed editor Charles Kinbote. Probably the finest example of metafiction ever written, no one has attempted top put this incredibly complex work to screen. Cumberbatch has done “paranoid” before (The Last Enemy) and to film Pale Fire would be a true test of his acting chops.