Will the Benedict Cumberbatch "Brexit" Movie Tell the True Story of Dominic Cummings?

Benedict Cumberbatch (left) portrays Vote Leave campaign manager Dominic Cummings (right).
by K.Lang

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Doctor Strange) has transformed himself into Dominic Cummings for the upcoming British TV movie that currently has the working title Brexit. With the help of a receding hairline, Cumberbatch will portray the Vote Leave campaign manager who helped to convince the British people to vote to leave the European Union (EU) in a June 23, 2016 referendum. The Brexit TV movie, being produced for Britain's Channel 4, embraces the liberal viewpoint, with Cumberbatch portraying Cummings as the villain who deceptively manipulated the people into voting to leave the EU.

According to Channel 4, the Benedict Cumberbatch Brexit movie will be "set primarily during the referendum" and will "explore the myriad of tactics employed to swing one of the most surprising referendum results in living memory." 51.9% of British people who voted chose to leave the EU. Cumberbatch himself had been very clear in his opposition to Brexit, joining other celebrities like Keira Knightley and Jude Law in signing an open letter that backed campaign "Remain." The letter claimed that leaving the European Union would hurt Britain's cultural sector and prevent actors and those in Britain's creative industries from moving freely across Europe's borders. The letter also claimed that the cultural sector needs "vital EU funding to survive."

After Brexit passed, the losing side of the referendum accused the Leave campaign, headed by Dominic Cummings, of using shady tactics to manipulate the public, implying that the public could not possibly have come to the consensus to leave the EU on their own.

The main reasons more than half of Brit voters chose to exit the European Union is basically threefold. First, they didn't like the idea that in the EU, you can travel freely between more than 25 countries (not including Britain) without a passport. This has made it difficult to control immigration and to also prevent terrorists from moving around within much of the EU. Next, they didn't like the bureaucracy going on at the EU level, which included regulations that were decided outside the UK. This included restrictions on how powerful vacuum cleaners can be and ridiculous grading systems for things like the curvature of bananas. Third, some Brits were upset that EU free trade agreements had allowed UK jobs to be outsourced to other countries (something Americans saw happen with NAFTA).

The Benedict Cumberbatch Brexit TV movie clearly lands on the other side of the argument. Is the movie's criticism of Dominic Cummings in line with the true story? The movie will certainly make the same accusations against Cummings that Vote Remain supporters have, that he deployed deceptive advertising and violated campaign spending limits. In April 2016, Cummings was questioned and criticized by MPs at the Treasury Select Committee for creating misleading leaflets for the Leave campaign. The Electoral Commission is also investigating whether his campaign broke spending rules. What is clear is that opinions on Dominic Cummings seem to largely depend on which side of the Brexit referendum you were on. Benedict Cumberbatch and the filmmakers clearly didn't vote Leave.



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