‘The Courier’ trivia: 12 facts about new Benedict Cumberbatch thriller

Benedict Cumberbatch’s The Courier is coming to DVD and Blu-ray!

Set in the 1960s, this nail-biting tale of Cold War espionage drama is based on an incredible true story,

The cast is led by Sherlock star Cumberbatch, alongside Merab Ninidze (McMafia), Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs Maisel), and Jessie Buckley (Wild Rose).

The Courier is now available digitally, and out to buy on Blu-ray and DVD from Monday 1st November courtesy of Lionsgate UK.

Watch the trailer:


The official synopsis reads: “The Courier is a true-life spy thriller, the story of an unassuming British businessman, Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch), recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history.

“At the behest of the UK’s MI6 and a CIA operative (Rachel Brosnahan), he forms a covert, dangerous partnership with Soviet officer Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) in an effort to provide crucial intelligence needed to prevent a nuclear confrontation and defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

To celebrate the release, here’s some interesting trivia about the movie:


The Courier was originally titled Ironbark when the project was first announced in 2018.


The movie’s opening scene was shot at Stoke Park on the same golf course used in the classic 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger.


Director Dominic Cooke had worked with Benedict Cumberbatch before in theatre productions and the BBC’s Shakespeare series The Hollow Crown  – Cooke wanted Cumberbatch for the part of Greville Wynne in The Courier as soon as he read the script.


Writer Tom O’Connor even had Cumberbatch in mind while writing the screenplay: “Benedict was always the dream. During the writing process, I was trying hard not to get my hopes up. I didn’t want to get fixated on Benedict because I thought he would never do it.”


The Courier is Benedict Cumberbatch’s third period drama movie about the British intelligence services, following 2011’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and 2014’s The Imitation Game.


Revealing what attracts him to tales of espionage, Cumberbatch has said: “Spies are interesting meat and drink for actors because there’s always mask play and role play and the shifts are very sudden and quick.”


This movie isn’t the first time that Russian actor Vladimir Chuprikov has played Nikita Khrushchev – he also played the former Soviet Union premiere in Gagarin, First in Space in 2013.


Several of the Moscow scenes were actually filmed in Prague and the Czech Republic, while the interior scenes were shot in the UK. “I don’t think that there is any location that is in a single country,” revealed production designer Susie Davies.


Cumberbatch shed 21lbs in weight to look right for Greville Wynne’s time in a Soviet prison.


Scriptwriter Tom O’Connor first became interested in the history of Russian/American espionage in the wake of 2016’s US Presidential election.


O’Connor’s research for the script was made more difficult as “people don’t necessarily want everything on-the-record.” He explained: “A lot of the events were and remain classified, and so sometimes, finding out what exactly happened was a challenge because there is active misinformation being put out by both sides.” 


The Courier premiered in several countries on the real Greville Wynne’s birthday, 102 years after he was born.


The Courier is available on DVD and Blu-ray on Amazon.