StudioCanal boards Cumberbatch drama and backs UK indie

StudioCanal boards Cumberbatch drama and backs UK indie

CumberbatchStudioCanal has announced that production will begin next year on How to Stop Time, a new drama to be produced with SunnyMarch, based on Matt Haig’s bestselling novel. 

Benedict Cumberbatch will star in the lead role of Tom Hazard, with Tomas Alfredson directing; DC Moore is adapting the novel and will serve as showrunner. Production gets underway in London and Europe in 2024. 

Robyn Slovo is series producer alongside Cumberbatch, Adam Ackland, Claire Marshall and Leah Clarke for SunnyMarch. Moore, Alfredson, Haig and Jamie Byng executive produce alongside Ron Halpern and Joe Naftalin for StudioCanal. 

How to Stop Time explores the lives of men and women who live for hundreds and hundreds of years, suffering from a very rare condition called anageria. Cumberbatch plays Tom Hazard, born in 15th century France, who has repeatedly lost everything due to his condition – he lives an existence of constant loss. 

Cumberbatch said: “When I first read How to Stop Time the potential of this story was immediately obvious. In his inimitable style, Matt once again explores what it is to be human and what it is to live a life – a very long one in this case – with pathos, insight, humour, drama and inspiration. I am so thrilled to be reuniting with Tomas Alfredson who is the perfect person to capture the scale, tension, and sense of humour alive in DC Moore’s adaptation.”  

Director Alfredson added: “We all know that time is something absolute, like silence or darkness or the speed of light. But describing or witnessing it seems as flexible as taste, beauty or politics. I guess this is why Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time is so compelling. It’s a fantastic essential condition for a TV-series to have a main character that doesn’t age and all the possibilities that offers. DC Moore has written a fantastic script and to have the forever young Benedict Cumberbatch to play Tom Hazard is nothing less than congenial.” 

The six-part drama was confirmed by StudioCanal CEO & Canal+ deputy CEO Anna Marsh during a keynote appearance at MIPTV. 


James StrongAt the event, March also revealed that StudioCanal is now backing UK indie Strong Film & Television, headed by well-known scripted-TV director James Strong (pictured, left), creative director Loretta Preece and co-founder Matt Tombs.

Strong Film & TV has offices in London and Bristol. 


The first project to be greenlit under the new partnership is The Out (w/t), a social thriller set against the volatile backdrop of a juvenile prison. It is written by George Kellock, a graduate of 2022 Talent Unlimited, and marks the first funded development project to emerge from Vivendi’s writers’ residence run by Amandine Maudet in partnership with StudioCanal. 

Strong said: “Loretta, Matt and I want to create contemporary, emotional and bold pieces that connect with international viewers as well as in the UK.  We believe that partnering with STUDIOCANAL will give us an even deeper grasp of what global film and tv audiences are looking for and, with their talented teams across financing and sales, we will be able to make programming that will engage with audiences and travel throughout the world. 

“We’re extremely excited to launch this new era of Strong Film & Television by adding a remarkable series such as The Out to our existing slate of brilliant ideas.” 


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