The Current War

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The Current War
The Current War.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAlfonso Gomez-Rejon
Produced by
Written byMichael Mitnick
Music by
CinematographyChung-hoon Chung
Edited byDavid Trachtenberg
Distributed by
Release date
  • September 9, 2017 (2017-09-09) (TIFF)
  • October 4, 2019 (2019-10-04) (United States)
CountryUnited States

The Current War is a 2017 American historical drama film directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and written by Michael Mitnick. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, Katherine Waterston, Simon Manyonda, and Tuppence Middleton, and depicts the so-called "war of the currents" between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse. Martin Scorsese serves as an executive producer on the film.

The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2017. Originally to be distributed by The Weinstein Company in November 2017, the film was shelved and sold off following the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations. It was eventually bought by Lantern Entertainment (the successor of TWC), who then sold the domestic distribution rights to 101 Studios. It is scheduled to be released on October 4, 2019, by 101 Studios.


The film presents the story of the "war of the currents" between electricity titans Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse which determined whose electrical system would power the modern world.



On May 3, 2012, it was reported that Timur Bekmambetov's company, Bazelevs, had acquired the rights to the Michael Mitnick script The Current War. Bekmambetov was set to direct.[2] On March 31, 2014, it was reported that Ben Stiller was in negotiations to direct the film.[3] As of September 24, 2015, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jake Gyllenhaal were in talks to play Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, respectively, with Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) eyed to direct the film.[4] On September 29, 2016, Michael Shannon was cast as Westinghouse,[5] and on October 4, Nicholas Hoult was cast as Nikola Tesla.[6] In November 2016, Katherine Waterston[7] and Tom Holland[8] joined the cast. The following month, Tuppence Middleton[9] and Matthew Macfadyen[10] were also cast.

Principal photography began on December 18, 2016, and took place in London and the surrounding areas,[11] as well as Rothbury, Northumberland, where Cragside House was used as a location.[12]


The film was originally scheduled to be released by The Weinstein Company on December 22, 2017,[13] and then rescheduled for November 24, 2017.[14] It had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2017.[15] It was pulled from release following the sexual abuse allegations that arose against Harvey Weinstein, then co-head of the company.[16] Weinstein said that he was involved in the re-editing of the film when it was made known that the allegations would be revealed.[17]

In October 2018, Lantern Entertainment, which acquired The Weinstein Company's assets through its bankruptcy, and 13 Films, an international distribution and finance company, struck a deal to co-distribute the film internationally.[18] In April 2019, it was announced 101 Studios had acquired distribution rights to the film for $3 million, and committed to a wide release. Director Gomez-Rejon said since the Toronto premiere he had added five additional scenes and trimmed ten minutes from the runtime.[19] It is scheduled to be released on October 4, 2019, in the US.[20]


On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 33% based on 15 reviews, with a weighted average of 4.53/10.[21] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 42 out of 100, based on 10 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[22]


  1. ^ "Mary Stilwell Edison (1855 - 1884)". Find A Grave Memorial. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  2. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (May 3, 2012). "Black List Script 'The Current War' Bought By Timur Bekmambetov To Helm". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
  3. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (March 31, 2014). "Ben Stiller Circling To Direct 'The Current War' At TWC". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
  4. ^ Hipes, Patrick (September 24, 2015). "Benedict Cumberbatch & Jake Gyllenhaal In Talks For 'The Current War'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
  5. ^ Lodderhose, Diana (September 29, 2016). "Michael Shannon Joins Benedict Cumberbatch In TWC's 'The Current War'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  6. ^ Kroll, Justin (October 4, 2016). "Nicholas Hoult to Play Nikola Tesla in 'The Current War'". Variety. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
  7. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (November 1, 2016). "Katherine Waterston Joins 'The Current War'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
  8. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (November 2, 2016). "'Spider-Man: Homecoming's Tom Holland Joining 'The Current War'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
  9. ^ Pedersen, Erik (December 14, 2016). "Tuppence Middleton Plugs Into 'The Current War'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
  10. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (December 16, 2016). "Matthew Macfadyen Joins 'The Current War'; 'D.O.A. Blood River' Rounds Out Cast; Katia Winter Stars In 'Unwanted'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
  11. ^ Perry, Spencer (December 16, 2016). "Current War Begins Filming with Benedict Cumberbatch". Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  12. ^ Barbara Hodgson (2017-01-25). "Benedict Cumberbatch movie The Current War begins filming in North East". Chronicle Live. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  13. ^ Hipes, Patrick (March 17, 2017). "'Mary Magdalene', 'Current War' & 'Wind River' Get 2017 Release Dates From Weinstein". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  14. ^ "The Current War". Angelika Film Center. Retrieved August 19, 2017.
  15. ^ Vlessing, Etan (July 25, 2017). "Toronto: Jennifer Lawrence's 'Mother!,' George Clooney's 'Suburbicon' Among 2017 Festival Lineup". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  16. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (2017-10-14). "Weinstein Co. Pulls Benedict Cumberbatch Movie 'The Current War' Off Thanksgiving Schedule". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2017-10-14.
  17. ^ Lang, Brent; Maddaus, Gene; Setoodeh, Ramin (October 4, 2017). "Harvey Weinstein Lawyers Up for Bombshell New York Times, New Yorker Stories". Variety. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  18. ^ Vlessing, Etan (October 8, 2018). "Benedict Cumb.erbatch's 'The Current War' to Get International Release". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  19. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (April 2, 2019). "Sparked By A Martin Scorsese Contract Clause, 'The Current War' Gets Second Life & Wide Release Commitment From 101 Studios". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  20. ^ Vlessing, Etan (May 21, 2019). "Benedict Cumberbatch's 'The Current War' to Get Domestic Release". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  21. ^ "The Current War (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  22. ^ "The Current War reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 21, 2017.

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