English artist Louis Wain was one of the most curious figures in the world of art during his time. He had an intense obsession with our feline friends, routinely creating anthropomorphic renditions of cats and kittens with disturbingly large eyes. While some believe that he is rightly institutionalised for being schizophrenic, others maintain that Wain was a misunderstood visionary.
A biopic about Wain is already in the making, with an upcoming theatrical release date of October 22. Titled The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, Benedict Cumberbatch is set to star as the eccentric titular figure alongside the likes of Claire Foy, Jamie Demetriou and Andrea Riseborough, among others. The film will be available for streaming on Amazon Prime this November.
“I see it as being about someone who never gives up”, director Will Sharpe said. “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.”
He also commented on the heavy involvement of cats during the production process: “Charlotte, our cat wrangler, has been incredibly hardworking. 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.” As for Cumberbatch’s performance, Sharpe gushed: “He’s always on and always delivers, which is exciting to watch.”
A few notable stars will also play minor parts in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain. For starters, the director of films like Jojo Rabbit and Thor: Ragnarok, Taika Waititi, will feature as Max Kase – a newspaper editor from New York.
Furthermore, Olivia Colman will provide the voice for the narrator of the film, and the iconic Bad Seeds frontman, Nick Cave, is set to star as famous sci-fi author HG Wells.