Watch Benedict Cumberbatch and Rachel Brosnahan in 'The Courier' Trailer

(Photo: Lionsgate)

Benedict Cumberbatch is set to play the most unlikely of spies in the upcoming Cold War thriller The Courier. 

Formerly titled Ironbark, the film is based on the real-life story of Greville Wynne, a British businessman-turned-spy who was recruited by MI-6 and the CIA to smuggle secrets out of the Soviet Union, including the intelligence needed to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Though the actor has lately been pretty busy playing Marvel superhero Doctor Strange in the Avengers franchise, The Courier isn't Cumberbatch's first go at a tension-filled spy flick. He won raves for his performance as Peter Guillam in the 2011 adaptation of the late John Le Carre's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

The movie also stars Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) as a CIA operative, Jessie Buckley (I'm Thinking of Ending Things) as Greville's wife, Sheila, and Merab Ninidze as Oleg Penkovsky, the Russian general who worked with MI6 under the codename Ironbark. (Hence the film's previous name when it screened at the Sundance Film Festival last year.) 

The official synopsis for The Courier reads as follows. 

THE COURIER is a true-life spy thriller, the story of an unassuming British businessman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history. At the behest of the UK’s MI-6 and a CIA operative (Rachel Brosnahan), he forms a covert, dangerous partnership with Soviet officer Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) in an effort to provide crucial intelligence needed to prevent a nuclear confrontation and defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis;

Watch the trailer for yourselves below. 


The Courier arrives in theaters on March 13. No word yet on when we might expect some sort of VOD release, given that many fans are still avoiding in-person theatrical releases thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But, given that studios are well aware of this problem, there's every hope that fans won't have to wait too long to see this movie for themselves at home. Fingers crossed, anyway.

Does The Courier sound like the kind of film you'd watch? Let us know in the comments. 

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

More to Love from Telly Visions