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Benedict Cumberbatch is Thomas Edison in the first trailer for The Current War

Benedict Cumberbatch is Thomas Edison in the first trailer for The Current War

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Vying for power during the electrification of America

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The first trailer for Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s historical drama The Current War has arrived, and it shows off the first look at a really intriguing story. The story dives into an intense rivalry over the future of electrical power in the United States in the late 1800s.

The trailer opens with a Prestige-like shot of Cumberbatch standing in the middle of a field surrounded by light bulbs. We’re introduced to Thomas Edison (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Westinghouse (played by Michael Shannon) as they talk up the coming electrical revolution, how it will change the world, and how they’re each looking to outdo their rival. Nikola Tesla (played by Nicholas Hoult) also makes an appearance.

The film is about the so-called “War of Currents,” an electrical arms race that played out in the late 1880s between inventor Thomas Edison who waged a corporate war against a rival electrical company run by George Westinghouse. This period of American history was an important one, because it helped set the baseline for how electrical power (alternating current vs. direct current) was implemented across the country. This is solid material for a film landing in the midst of Oscar season, and it’ll be interesting to see if it comes anywhere near the territory of other historical drama films like There Will Be Blood.

The Current War hits theaters on November 24th, 2017.

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