Benedict Cumberbatch playing real-life magician in World War II drama

Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch will lead the cast of a new movie based on a crazy true story.

War Magician is based on the book by David Fisher and will be adapted by Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow.

The upcoming period drama film is tells the incredible story of Jasper Maskelyne, a British illusionist who used magic to defeat Erwin Rommel during the Second World War.

Deadline reports that the movie’s script follows an international “magic gang” from Africa, Europe and the Middle East who conspired with Maskelyne and a female military intelligence officer to defeat the Nazis.

The official synopsis for Fisher’s book reads: “Jasper Maskelyne was a world famous magician and illusionist in the 1930s. When war broke out, he volunteered his services to the British Army and was sent to Egypt where the desert war had just begun.

“He used his skills to save the vital port of Alexandria from German bombers and to ‘hide’ the Suez Canal from them. He invented all sorts of camouflage methods to make trucks look like tanks and vice versa. On Malta he developed ‘the world’s first portable holes’: fake bomb craters used to fool the Germans into thinking they had hit their targets.

“His war culminated in the brilliant deception plan that won the Battle of El Alamein: the creation of an entire dummy army in the middle of the desert.”

Benedict Cumberbatch can next be seen playing the titular famous painter in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, alongside The Crown star Claire Foy.

He’s also set to star in a new version of classic spy thriller The 39 Steps.

War Magician is expected to begin filming in England later this year, ahead of a release in cinemas in 2022.

The complete Sherlock box set is available on DVD on Amazon.