Doug Liman’s EVEREST Eyes Benedict Cumberbatch

Would be playing British climber George Mallory…

Benedict Cumberbatch, who is currently on our screens with the Wikileaks drama ‘The Fifth Estate,’ is reportedly the frontrunner to take the lead in the Doug Liman-directed ‘Everest,’ replacing fellow Brit Tom Hardy who was initially set to star.

Adapted from the 2009 non-fiction book, ‘Paths of Glory,’ by Jeffrey Archer, the film aims to tell the story of George Mallory, an English mountaineer who took part in the first three British expeditions to scale Mount Everest in the early 1920s.

Other actors rumoured to be in the mix for project include ‘Man of Steel’ star Henry Cavill, Tom Hiddleston (‘Thor: The Dark World’), James McAvoy (‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’), Matthew Goode (‘Stoker’), Luke Evans (‘The Hobbit’), Joel Kinnaman (‘Robocop’), Jim Sturgess (‘Cloud Atlas’) and Dan Stevens (‘Downton Abbey’). Those who miss out on playing lead will also be in consideration for the role of Mallory’s Australian rival, George Finch.

The film is gearing up for a March 2014 start with Liman directing from a screenplay penned by ‘Up In The Air’ scribe Sheldon Turner.

Liman’s project is not to be confused with Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormákur’s ‘Everest’ that deals with the disastrous events that took place during the 1996 Mount Everest climb which left eight climbers dead.