This year seems to be building up as a time for film companies to do a slew of interesting historical movies. The Toronto International Film Festival this September will be the first appearances of two such pictures. One is “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women” from Annapurna Pictures, a biopic of the creator of Wonder Woman starring Luke Evans.

Another is from The Weinstein Company, a sprawling historical drama depicting a significant event in the development of electrical power during the late 19th Century. “The Current War” will chronicle the ideological conflict between two formats of electric current used in providing power: the direct current (DC) system of inventor Thomas Edison, and businessman George Westinghouse’s alternating current (AC).

Electricity clash

Some prominent star power has been put to bear in The Weinstein Company’s production of “The Current War.” Prominent among these actors is none other than British star Benedict Cumberbatch himself, playing the role of Thomas Edison. Cumberbatch, known for his portrayals in BBC’s “Sherlock,” Paramount’s “Star Trek Into Darkness” and as Doctor Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, gives a magnificently larger-than-life take on the legendary inventor. Edison in the 1880s has started up several businesses involved in electricity production, following his invention of the practical light bulb.

But in a time of innovation, other companies make their play. George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) establishes his own electric company in competition to Edison’s, with a different electricity format that seems to have advantages over the inventor’s own.

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What follows is a pileup of measures and plots that both Westinghouse and Edison use against one another, from commercial struggle, propaganda smear campaigns, and a general AC versus DC discussion in the scientific community. The Weinstein Company also makes sure that “The Current War” will cover all bases in the electricity incident by including the third big name in the story, Nikola Tesla.

Intense preview

A trailer of “The Current War” was also released by The Weinstein Company to promote the film ahead of its advance screening at the TIFF. It features a splendid 1880s period setting, which would serve as a battleground between Benedict Cumberbatch’s Edison and Michael Shannon’s Westinghouse, with Nikola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult) stepping in to decisively carry one side over the other. The war of reputation between the rival electricity companies is also highlighted in a scale that could easily be described as epic.

The Current War” with Cumberbatch, Shannon, and Hoult, is written by Michael Mitnick and directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. Following the Toronto Film Festival, it will premiere in cinemas starting November 24.