Sherlock star Cumberbatch to play Frankenstein on stage

Benedict Cumberbatch (l) and Jonny Lee Miller (r) Cumberbatch (l) and Miller (r) will take turns playing the two main roles in Frankenstein

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Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch is to star opposite Jonny Lee Miller as Doctor Frankenstein in a new London stage play directed by Danny Boyle.

The actors will alternate roles as the mad scientist and his monstrous creation in the National Theatre production, starting in February.

Miller is best known for playing Sick Boy in Oscar winner Boyle's 1996 film Trainspotting.

Cumberbatch is currently shooting a film version of The War Horse in Devon.

Based on Michael Morpurgo's novel the movie is being directed by Steven Spielberg and is due out in 2011.

The new play has been adapted by Nick Dear from Mary Shelley's Gothic horror story, which was first published in 1818.

Boyle told the BBC: "I thought it would be really interesting if they could play each other's roles every other night.

"It is very much a two-hander, that's the engine of the piece, and it's nice because it puts the accent on performance and not on make-up.

"It's an extraordinary story," he added.

Boyle's latest film 127 Hours closed the London Film Festival on Thursday. The Slumdog Millionaire director was presented with a BFI fellowship the previous evening.

Miller was recently seen in the BBC's adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma, while Cumberbatch is due to return in a second series of contemporary mystery Sherlock.

The first three episodes, which put a modern spin on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic detective, proved to be a ratings hit for BBC One.

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