The ‘Strange’ case of Benedict Cumberbatch
In the third part of our series, we take a look at the rise of British actor Benedict Cumberbatch and what makes him one of the most popular actors of our time.Updated: Jun 16, 2016 18:51 IST
By the time, the third season of Sherlock, the popular British TV series, ended in January 2014, actor Benedict Cumberbatch had become a household name for playing the popular fictional detective.
At a time, when there was Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes on the silver screen and another British actor Johnny Lee Miller working in a similar adaptation, Cumberbatch’s portrayal of the detective continues to be the most loved and followed.
Acting came naturally to the London-born Cumberbatch, who was described as “the best schoolboy actor” by his drama teacher in school. Before getting the much-deserved fame with the TV show, he landed his first role as the popular physicist Stephen Hawking, in a television film Hawking, for which he also received the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor.
Post Sherlock, Cumberbatch played British cryptographer Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, which got him nominations for the Golden Globe, BAFTA, SAG, and Academy Award for Best Actor. He will soon be seen as the fictional superhero Dr Strange and will later join the team of Avengers which will unite him with his Sherlock counterpart- Robert Downey Jr.
The actor’s off the screen antics make him one of the most popular actors in the industry. His female fans famously call themselves Cumber-b*****s, before he himself asked them to change it to a more “empowering” name. Now, that is a testament to his global following.
Did you know?
1. He entertained the idea of a law degree because of how hard his parents worked to give him an education. When he discovered that law was just as competitive, he decided to go with his passion - acting.
2. He unexpectedly got dual voice roles on The Simpsons . He voiced the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister (patterned from Hugh Grant’s character in Love Actually (2003)) and did an Alan Rickman impression to voice Snape for the Special Valentine Episode that aired February 2013.
3. He painted oil canvases and was a member of the rugby team while he was studying at Harrow.
4. He was once held at gun point and kidnapped in South Africa. After being tied up, thrown in a car boot and driven to the middle of nowhere, he was released with no explanation for what had happened.
5. Benedict almost turned down the role of Sherlock Holmes, worrying that the remake would be ”cheap and cheesy”.
6. He has a condition called heterochromia, a mutation which means there’s a difference in coloration in his eyes. Specifically, the irises have a varying combination of blue, green, and gold.
1. Cumberbatch - it sounds like a fart in a bath, doesn’t it? What a fluffy old name. I can never say it on a Monday morning. When I became an actor, Mum wasn’t keen on me keeping it.
2. Worst thing about my profession? The press, obviously. Don’t write that, eh?
3. It’s the blessing of having a weird face - somewhere between an otter and something people find vaguely attractive.
4. People say, “This is your moment.” Well, I hate to say it, but I don’t believe in moments. I don’t believe in one-offs. I believe in something continuing and continuing, and I want to be doing this job for the next 50 years if I live that long.
5. Pull the hair on my head the wrong way, and I would be on my knees begging for mercy. I have very sensitive follicles.
6. I wish my 15-year-old self had known about my allure to the opposite sex!
7 I’m quite sensitive to people noticing me. There are times when I’m relaxed, then others when it does make me self-conscious.
8. If people ask, ‘Are you Sherlock Holmes?’, it’s horribly naff, but I say, ‘I’m not, I just look a bit like him’ - which is how I feel. There are bad attributes of his that I really don’t share!
Five best Cumberbatch roles
1. In the TV series —Sherlock, Cumberbatch plays Sherlock Holmes in modern times.
2. In the movie — The Imitation Game, he plays the role of popular British cryptographer Alan Turing.
3. In The Fifth Estate, Cumberbatch is seen in the role of the famous whistle blower Julian Asange
4. In August: Osage County, he is seen as Charles “Little Charlie” Aiken, who falls in love with his half-sister Ivy Weston.
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First Published: Jun 16, 2016 18:51 IST