Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Amber Ray
May 18, 2014 AT 03:32 PM EDT

Benedict Cumberbatch has signed on to The Yellow Birds, a film adaptation of Kevin Powers’ 2012 National Book Award finalist about the Iraq War.

The Sherlock star will star as a sergeant who takes two young soldiers — played by Will Poulter and Tye Sheridan — under his wing. The story focuses on 21-year-old Private Bartle and the teenaged Private Murphy, who meet at boot camp and are deployed to Iraq. Some of the story is autobiographical; Powers served as an Army machine gunner in Iraq after enlisting at the age of 17.

Story Mining and Supply Co. acquired the rights to the novel and developed the script, which will be written by David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints), who will also serve as director.

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