Will Sharpe talks “Louis Wain” and Benedict with Empire magazine

The March 2021 edition of Empire UK magazine features a short interview with director Will Sharpe on The Electrical Life of Louis Wain in which he talks a little about Benedict. Check it out below:

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain.

The year’s battiest biopic? This may well be it.

On the surface, it all sounds quite traditional: Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy starring in a biopic of a renowned British artist. But with an idiosyncratic title, and Will Sharpe – the creator of Channel 4’s bleak comedy Flowers – as director, The Electrical Life of Louis Wain should be anything but. Wain, played by Cumberbatch (“He’s always on and always delivers, which is exciting to watch”, says Sharpe), was a cat-obsessed oddball renowned for his fantastical, psychedelic paintings of anthropomorphised feline figures, and who suffered personal tragedy and significant success across his surprisingly long life in the late 1800s and early 1900s. What’s more, he may have had schizophrenia, possibly brought on by parasites found in, er, cat shit.

“I see it as being about someone who never gives up”, Sharpe tells Empire. “When you look at the facts of his life, it’s like – wow, he lived through an awful lot. And I genuinely like his pictures. There’s something emotional about them somehow. On the surface they’re just pictures of cats, but the scribbles at the bottom betray his underlying anxiety”.

Beyond Cumberbatch and Foy, Sharpe has assembled a sprawling cast of British favourites and comedy players, including Andrea Riseborough, Toby Jones, Hayley Squires, Julian Barratt, Asim Chaudhry, and Jamie Demetriou. Oh, and cats. Lots of cats. “Charlotte, our cat wrangler, has been incredibly hardworking”, says Sharpe. “Cats are independent-minded creatures, so we have to honour that and respect their process. I don’t want to get in the way, but some of them are really adorable”. For anyone who prefers their art biopics on the more experimental side, Louis Wain should be catnip”. BEN TRAVIS

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain is due in cinemas in late 2021.

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