Benedict Cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch attends the 'Sherlock' panel during Comic-Con International 2016 Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing the lead in the Fox Searchlight adaptation of the classic 1939 English novel by Geoffrey Household, Rogue Male, the studio has revealed. The actor is also set to produce the film through his company SunnyMarch along with Lloyd Levin, Branwen Prestwood Smith and Beatriz Levin of Black Sheep Pictures.

Rogue Male follows the story of a hunter who attempts to assassinate a European dictator but is caught and left for dead after being tortured. He somehow manages to find his way back to London, but the dictator's secret services find him and attempt to kill him again.

After killing the agent, the hunter has to hide from British authorities as well and after a dramatic cat and mouse chase, he escapes and starts to plan a second attempt on the life of the autocrat.

"I am thrilled both as an actor and producer to be working on bringing this most treasured of English novels to the big screen," Cumberbatch said according to The Hollywood Reporter.

This is not the first time the book has been adapted for the screen. Peter O'Toole starred in a BBC TV version in 1976, and Walter Pidgeon starred in Fritz Lang's 1941 film Man Hunt, both based on the novel.

For now, the 40-year-old actor is preparing for the release of the Marvel film Doctor Strange in which he plays the superhero fighting evil with magical powers and martial arts skills. The film is set for US release on 4 November.

He will also be seen in Season 4 of the BBC detective series Sherlock which is expected to air in 2017.