Accessibility links

Breaking News

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch Plays Thomas Edison in 'The Current War'

Benedict Cumberbatch is appointed a CBE (Citizen of the British Empire) in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of his services to the performing arts and to charity. (Buckingham Palace, London, England, UK)
The Current War
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:03:11 0:00

The Weinstein Company planned to release its new film The Current War in the United States this week. But the opening has been delayed until next year.

Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein heads the company, and he is accused of sexually harassing and assaulting several women in Hollywood.

The film stars Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch. He plays light bulb inventor Thomas Edison who clashes with industrialist George Westinghouse in the early 20th century.

Edison prefers direct electrical current while Westinghouse, played by Michael Shannon, wants to use the more dangerous alternating current.

Originally, the two men wanted to work together, but Edison received a lot of investment money from the world’s richest man, J.P. Morgan, and decided to work alone. Westinghouse and Edison became enemies, fighting over the future of electricity.

Benedict Cumberbatch says that he played the role of Edison because it was a great challenge.

“That’s kind of an exciting chapter of history no matter who you’re playing in it and I just thought it’s a challenge to play such a titanic figure in American culture and I like a challenge.”

Michael Shannon says he tried to play Westinghouse as a complex character and not let him become a great egoist.

“For every success they had, they had a failure and it wasn’t always easy.”

In addition to Edison and Westinghouse, the film features the life of Nicola Tesla, a former assistant to Edison who goes on to work for Westinghouse. Actor Nicolas Hoult plays Tesla.

Hoult says that Tesla believed that everyone had a right to use electrical power and it would change the world dramatically. As a character, he adds, Tesla is interesting to play because he was often poor, but was always well dressed.

Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon has received some criticism for his use of special effects and odd camera angles. He says he wanted the audience to understand the importance of electricity and the way it would change the world.

He explains he had to tell a long story in a short time and he hopes it “captures the feeling of the time.”

I'm Susan Shand.

David Byrd reported this story for Susan Shand adapted his report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.


Words in This Story

disgrace - v. to cause (someone or something) to lose or become unworthy of respect or approval

alternate - adj. occurring in or forming a repeated series

challenge - v. to be difficult enough to be interesting to someone

titanic - adj. very great in size, force, or power

egoist - n. a person who believes he is better or more important than other people

odd - adj. strange or unusual; different from what is normal or expected