The film is an adaptation of a yet to be-published novel by Matt Haig, a bestselling author known for children's books like Shadow Forest and The Girl Who Saved Christmas. How To Stop Time is his first adult novel in some time, and tells the story of a man named Tom Hazard (Cumberbatch), who has been alive for centuries due to an "extremely rare condition".
Always changing identities to avoid detection, he has settled on working as a history teacher in London. It is, according to a statement given to Variety, "a wildly imagined love story that spans centuries and continents" – sounding a little like a cross between About Time (2013) and Cloud Atlas (2013).
There is no word on who will direct or adapt the screenplay, though Haig has some screenwriting experience on Paddington (2014), so he may opt to adapt his own novel. Cumberbatch's production company, SunnyMarch, have acquired the rights to the book and Cumberbatch will also executive produce. As if he didn't have enough on his plate.
No word on when filming begins, either, but the novel version of How To Stop Time arrives in July. Haig has also tweeted about the news in the most enthusiastic terms.
I only finished writing this book about two weeks ago. And now this is happening. It feels fast and surreal. Beautiful, but surreal.— Matt Haig (@matthaig1) March 14, 2017