Michael Shannon is powering up for the George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison drama The Current War.
Shannon has signed on to play Westinghouse in The Weinstein Company’s upcoming drama, EW has confirmed. Benedict Cumberbatch is already on board as Edison, and the two electrical titans faced off in the late 19th century over the best way to power the United States.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon is on board to direct from a script by Michael Mitnick. Mitnick’s script, which made the 2011 Black List of the best unproduced screenplays, follows the Edison/Westinghouse feud of the late 1880s, as Edison argued in favor of direct current while Westinghouse championed alternating current.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter director Timur Bekmambetov is producing The Current War with Steve Zaillian and Garrett Basch. Previously, Jake Gyllenhaal was in talks to play Westinghouse.
Interestingly, The Current War isn’t the only upcoming movie to tackle the Edison/Westinghouse rivalry, and Cumberbatch’s Imitation Game director Morten Tyldum is helming The Last Days of Night, with Eddie Redmayne set to star as Westinghouse’s lawyer Paul Cravath. (Edison famously sued Westinghouse for a whopping $1 billion.)
The Current War is the next high-profile project for Shannon, who’ll next appear in Nocturnal Animals and Loving. He’s also filming Guillermo del Toro’s Cold War fantasy The Shape of Water. Deadline first reported Shannon’s involvement.