A film adaptation of RC Sherriff’s classic first world war play has been mooted for a while now, but ahead of the war’s 100th anniversary and with a key intervention from Prince Andrew, the project seems to have real functioning legs, both running in the same direction.

Benedict CumberbatchBenedict Cumberbatch at the Chelsea Flower Show

According to The Times, Benedict Cumberbatch And Tom Hiddleston have been sought to star in the adaptation. The 1928 play, which follows British army infantry officers in the trenches of Saint-Quentin, Aisne towards the end of the war, has been previously adapted for a 1930 movie and 1988 TV series. Prince Andrew reportedly phoned Warner Bros., who currently hold the rights to the movie, asking execs not to stand in the way of the film, arguing that it would be essential to Britain as we reach 100 years since the conflict. 

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"We are literally about to sign the film rights, which were indeed lost. Prince Andrew's involvement forced Warner into doing some due diligence. They discovered that the rights had lapsed in 2008. Warner were not forced to give up the rights; they very kindly looked into them and found they did not hold them in the UK and Eire any longer,” producer Guy De Beaujeu of Fluidity Films told the Guardian.

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"We've been chasing the rights for more than a year and it's taken that long to unravel the complexity of it. We thought they had been lost forever. I felt like it was such an important thing for the UK in the centenary that we should have the rights back. We feel that as one of the most significant anti-war plays ever written – Sheriff didn't see it that way of course – it's really important that we get the very best actors of their generation to take part. We want it to be as attractive to as many people as possible."