Cumberbatch Cold War thriller becomes one of Cannes big sellers


A Cold War spy thriller starring Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch has been one of the big sellers at the Cannes film festival, reports said Thursday.

Ironbark is based on the story of British spy and businessman Greville Wynne, who handled the double agent Oleg Penkovsky, a Russian military intelligence officer who tipped off Britain and the US about Soviet missiles in Cuba.

The information he fed through Wynne, who was arrested in Budapest and sentenced to eight years in prison in 1963, was among the most important of the Cold War.

Rights to the film were sold out across the world, according to Variety, with distributors FilmNation later posting on Facebook that it “has been a pretty good Cannes”.

The US company has also sold out the rights to the starry all-female big-budget spy caper 355 starring Jessica Chastain, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard and Fan Bingbing, which was unveiled at Cannes.

Another Soviet-era movie, Gareth Jones, about the Welsh writer of the same name, has also sparked a lot of interest at the festival.

The journalist, played by James Norton of “McMafia” fame, helped expose the Holodomor, the man-made famine that many blame on Stalin in early 1930s Ukraine in which millions died.

Polish director Agnieszka Holland has wrapped shooting in Poland and Ukraine, with finals scenes due to be filmed in Scotland later this month.