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Benedict Cumberbatch set to play Amazon explorer in ‘Lost City of Z’

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Benedict Cumberbatch is being lined up to portray the 1920s Amazon explorer Percy Fawcett in James Gray’s Lost City of Z, reports Deadline.

In what appears to be the currently red-hot British star’s first starring role in potential blockbuster fare, he will portray a real-life figure who was scorned by his peers after his expeditions in the Brazilian Amazon led him to claim evidence of a hidden ancient metropolis at its heart. Fawcett travelled back into the jungle in 1925 with his son and was never seen again.

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Brad Pitt was attached to play Fawcett in Gray’s film when it was first announced five years ago, but Cumberbatch seems the better fit. The project is still being put together at Pitt’s Plan B production company. Gray is best known for brooding dramas We Own the Night and The Yards as well as this year’s Cannes entry The Immigrant.

Fawcett is said to have been one of George Lucas’s inspirations for Indiana Jones and was also a friend of authors H Rider Haggard and Arthur Conan Doyle; the latter was inspired by the explorer’s stories to write The Lost World. The mystery of what happened to the adventurer remains one of the 20th century’s enduring puzzles: an estimated 100 would-be-rescuers have died in more than 13 expeditions (one as recently as 1996) sent to uncover Fawcett’s fate.

Cumberbatch is set to play Julian Assange in the forthcoming biopic about the WikiLeaks founder, The Fifth Estate, and is voicing both the dragon, Smaug, and the Necromancer in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy. He will also star in Steve McQueen’s Oscar-tipped 12 Years a Slave, and has a role in the big-screen adaptation of the Pulitzer and Tony-winning play August: Osage County opposite Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2013

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MSNBC analyst shreds GOP claim impeachment is an effort to change the 2016 election

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Republicans have claimed that the reason Democrats have sought impeachment, either from the Russia scandal to the Ukraine scandal, is that they want to unmake the 2016 election. Speaking to MSNBC Sunday, NYU Law Prof. Melissa Murray ripped the claim to shreds.

First, impeachment would only remove President Donald Trump is the Republican Senate voted to do so. If the president were removed, the new president wouldn't be Hillary Clinton; it would be Mike Pence, getting Democrats no victories other than upholding the rule of law.

"As these proceedings go away, there is building support for impeachment; it will require a supermajority of the Senate in order to convict and remove the president, which will require some Republican Senators to peel off and depart from the path," Murray said. "But I think the really important thing that Bob has mentioned here is this idea ta the Republicans are taunting that impeachment is a backend effort to basically subvert the will of the people. I think the testimony that was presented yesterday makes clear that that claim is specious."

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Rudy Giuliani’s devotion has escorted Trump straight to impeachment

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"Step by step, [Rudy Giuliani] has escorted President Trump to the brink of impeachment," The New York Times said in a piece following the president's top lawyer and his impact on the scandals facing the 45th president.

Two associates of Giuliani's have already been indicted, Giuliani is under criminal investigation from federal prosecutors, and he was never graced with a top position in the Trump government.

"The separate troubles he has gotten his client and himself into are products of the uniquely powerful position he has fashioned, a hybrid of unpaid personal counsel to the president and for-profit peddler of access and advice," The Times said Sunday.

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Trump team ‘is as incompetent, shambolic, paranoid, and given to conspiracy theories as it appears’: MSNBC panel

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In a Sunday evening panel discussion, MSNBC commentators explained that the White House appears to be just as chaotic and marred by chaos as the rumors say.

Many in the White House learned that the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was working overseas in Ukraine. Giuliani claimed that he's been producing a film that he couldn't get Fox News to run, as it will appear on the fringe network OAN.

"What Rudy Giuliani is doing is using Kremlin-manufactured propaganda as a defensive shield for the president," said CNBC's John Harwood. "Fiona Hill was unambiguous in her testimony to the intelligence committee. What Rudy Giuliani has been doing with these two indicted men who are linked to a Russian oligarch who is tied to Russian organized crime, is trying to manufacture a story that Ukraine, rather than Russia or in addition to Russia or differently from Russia, meddle in the campaign. That is false."

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