That’s my takeaway from the news that Benedict Cumberbatch and Jake Gyllenhaal are in talks to star in a movie called The Current War, based on the nineteenth century patents arms race between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse for control of the budding electric industry. At the heart of the Current War was Edison’s direct current system going up against NIKOLA TESLA’s alternating current system—Tesla designed the electric grid as we know it today—which was a much more efficient, and cheaper, way of transmitting large quantities of electricity. Westinghouse bought Tesla’s patents and hired him as a consultant to combat Edison, but somehow Tesla’s name hasn’t come up once in regards to this movie.
Cumberbatch will be playing Edison and Jake G is on for Westinghouse—no word on a potential Tesla. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon will be directing, coming off Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, but not until sometime in 2016 as everyone involved is busy. The script was on the Black List a few years back, and The Weinstein Company is producing, so you know this will be Oscar bait. I just hope they include the part about Thomas Edison electrocuting animals in front of audiences to “prove” alternating current was bad, which is a real thing that happened, multiple times, because Thomas Edison was a raging asshole. Nikola Tesla, however, dreamed of free electricity for all people, generated with renewable resources like wind and water—an entirely possible dream using his wireless transmission towers. And yet Thomas F*cking Edison is the one getting the Oscar movie treatment.