EXCLUSIVE: Katherine Waterston will star as George Westinghouse’s wife Marguerite Erskine in the Weinstein Company’s The Current War, the Alfonso Gomez-Rejon- directed drama about the battle between George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) and rival Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) to create a sustainable electricity system and market it to the U.S.
The film is coming together quickly, with Sienna Miller being courted for a role, and reports have Nicholas Hoult playing Nikola Tesla. Michael Mitnick wrote the script, which takes place in the late 1880s and revolves around the two titans and their battle over the supply of electricity. Edison championed the use of a direct current for electric power distribution over an alternating current, which was backed by Westinghouse Electric and a host of European companies. Timur Bekmambetov will produce the project alongside Film Rites’ Steve Zaillian and Garrett Basch. TWC is eyeing an early December shoot.
The Current War is one of two projects that’s generating sparks on the Edison-Westinghouse subject at the moment: Teddy Schwarzman’s Black Bear Pictures is fully financing and producing The Last Days of Night, written by Graham Moore, based on his own book that was published through Random House. It’s directed by Morten Tyldum and has set Eddie Redmayne to star. This one tells the story from a different vantage point: Redmayne plays famed lawyer Paul Cravath, who is tasked with defending Westinghouse after Edison wins the race to the patent office and sues his rival for an unheard-of sum of $1 billion. The Last Days of Night is on course for a February start.
After her breakout turn in Inherent Vice, Waterston followed with Steve Jobs and next stars with Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. She’s also part of the ensemble of the Steven Soderbergh-directed Logan Lucky and the Ridley Scott-directed Alien: Covenant. She’s repped by UTA and Silver Lining Entertainment.