Benedict Cumberbatch - Making Little Favour:
The genuine joy of knowing that you’re doing what you’re doing because of the people who want to see you do it, they’ve literally put their money where their fandom is, where their hearts are.
With many thanks to @yassammez for the caps as my DVD is a bit late…
His Last Vow - Behind the scenes.
original source: [x]
BENEDICT Cumberbatch once described his name as “sounding like a fart in a bath” but after an incredible 12 months it not only resonates well beyond his bathroom but famously, too.
Star Trek, The Hobbit, 12 Years A Slav e, a Julian Assange biopic, a role opposite Meryl Steep in August: Osage County and a return as Sherlock Holmes – some are calling 2013 the year of the Cumberbatch. The man himself is just hoping we’re not all utterly sick of the sight of him by now.
The 37-year-old Londoner has become one of the most respected, versatile and in-demand actors around and it’s all there on screen in his rich and various roles from the past year.
Trekkies and Tolkienites love him, women have the hots for him and movie buffs lap up his performances, yet Cumberbatch remains unchanged by his recent success.
Right now he’s coming down from a big night at the Oscars, a Best Picture win for 12 Years A Slave and a triumphant return as Sherlock Holmes in the acclaimed BBC series Sherlock.
London’s Barbican Centre last week announced Cumberbatch would play Hamlet at the venue next year and he has been voted the most popular Sherlock ever by fans, a title that sits nicely alongside the “sexiest man” titles thrust upon him.
It’s all part of a side of the business that you sense the actor accepts and plays along with rather than enjoys.
Fiercely private (he refuses to talk about his past relationship with Brit actress Olivia Poulet, whom he was with for more than a decade), Cumberbatch insists he still isn’t used to all that comes with being famous – and may never be.
Here, the likeable star talks about his incredible run of good fortune in film, his star status and talking to fans.
Q The past year has been incredible for you. The Year of the Cumberbatch!
BC (Laughs) I don’t know about that! But thank you very much.
Q Do you ever get sick of seeing yourself on screen?
BC I’d hate to think anyone is sick of the sight of me, although I wouldn’t blame them. It’s just crazy. I’ve overexposed myself! Actually that sounds a bit dirty (laughs). No, it is a real high point and I’m really enjoying it. I’m proud of every single project. I can genuinely say that it is varied enough, as a slate, to not fear too much overexposure. I just hope the public agree because they are seeing a lot of me.
Q Are you getting used to all the fans and the screaming at premieres?
BC Not at all! I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that. It all feels very peculiar. My day job is standing in front of a camera, that’s true, but it’s under very different circumstances because I’m in character and I’m doing my job. I’m an actor, not a spokesperson, a political pundit or an expert. While I dabble with the ideas and try to get a handle on the subject matter to give it some integrity and depth and understanding, beyond that I try to let the work speak for itself.
Q But you are enjoying your star status?
BC I am enjoying myself, yes. It would be really churlish to complain about anything to be honest. I’m very fortunate to be in the position I’m in.
Q How was it to be involved in 12 Years A Slave and a movie that won Best Picture at the Oscars?
BC I only had a small role in that fantastic film, but just to be involved was amazing. Steve McQueen is a fantastic director. It was an intense film to work on but so rewarding and to be there at the Oscars was thrilling and a very proud moment for everyone involved.
Q There was so much secrecy surrounding your recent return as Sherlock Holmes. Is that hard to keep up?
BC It is but it’s always lovely to be back as Sherlock. He’s a character that I truly love and it’s always a treat to wear that hair again and be back with Watson.
Q You have a very close relationship with Martin Freeman who plays Watson…
BC We’re great friends and working with Martin is a joy. He’s a brilliant actor and a fantastic Watson and his performance in coping with what he believed was the death of his best friend was an integral part of where the third series started. But Martin is an adorable man and blissfully, ridiculously funny and entertaining.
Q When were you first aware of Sherlock Holmes as a character?
BC I would have been about 12 years old when I first read a Sherlock story and it immediately made me hungry for more. Those stories are just very addictive reading, and it’s an utterly absorbing world. It’s just a really rich tapestry of characters and extraordinary adventures.
Q What do you do to prepare for a return as Sherlock?
BC The character is familiar to me now, so in terms of research I don’t have to do too much. Physically, I do a little swimming and yoga. It sounds funny I suppose, but I find it helps.
Q With Sherlock, Star Trek and The Hobbit, you’ve been exposed to some of the most obsessive fans there are. What were you obsessed with growing up?
BC Not much really. I loved certain Saturday TV staples like Knight Rider, The A-Team and even Baywatch – yes I had some sophistication when I was younger (laughs).
Q When people stop you in the street, which role do they want to talk to you about?
BC It’s mostly Sherlock. Even in America it’s Sherlock I get asked about most. It’s amazing just how many people have seen it over there. I get a few Trekkies, too.
Q How does it feel to be voted one of the sexiest men in the world?
BC Erm, baffling? No, I’ve been doing this job for a long time and it’s only recently that I’ve been blessed with this incredible good fortune by way of incredible opportunities. A side effect of all that is that kind of thing and it’s as funny to me as it is flattering.
Q Will we soon be seeing the last of you as Sherlock?
BC I genuinely don’t know. That’s not me trying to be mysterious. None of us knows if there will be a fourth, fifth or sixth series. (x)
Benedict Cumberbatch, Oz Comic Con, 2014. (via superwhospocklockian)
IT GOT BETTER.
Thank you @greenofrichmond for the most adorable photos ever this week (♥u♥)
oh my god!!! cute cute cuuuuuute!!! ♥
JACKIE I SWEAR TO GOD YOU ARE TRYING TO KILL EVERYONEthis is so fucking perfect and cute *o*
Got a Benedict Cumberbatch interview in High Life tomorrow, driving Jaguars on ice. If you’re flying BA take a look
First of 30 daily facts gleaned from my Cumberbatch BA High Life interview #bahighlife 1. His favourite city is London
The frozen lake we’re standing on is speaking to us. It’s a groaning, creaking voice, almost of pain, from way down deep in the icy abyss. ‘Listen to that,’ says Benedict Cumberbatch, dressed in a thick fur-collared jacket, black salopettes, chunky blue scarf, big snow boots, thick gloves and woolly hat. He looks more Scott of the Antarctic than Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street. ‘It sounds absolutely magical,’ he says, concentrating hard on the sound of the ice moaning beneath us, around us. There is no other sound. It’s too cold for birds or people or animals, too isolated for traffic.
'The ice is quite solid, I assume?' asks Benedict, articulating what we're all thinking. We're about to power around this frozen lake in a range of Jaguar sports cars and nobody wants their F-Type to turn submarine. 'Quite solid,' says our Finnish instructor, Tomi. He shows us a contraption that measures ice thickness. 'It's 35cm,' he says reassuringly. (That's just over a foot.) 'Although maybe less thick in places.' (An unhelpful postscript.)
We’re in southern central Finland taking part in a Jaguar winter-driving course. Alongside me is probably the biggest British TV or film star since Anthony Hopkins made Hannibal a cannibal or Colin Firth performed his royal stammer. In excess of 16 million Brits watched Benedict reappear as Sherlock Holmes for his third series on BBC1, making it the most-watched — and certainly best-loved — British TV drama in over a decade.
He’s tall (6ft), ramrod straight, just 37, slim (though trying to bulk up for his next part as a mercenary in Blood Mountain), has a blemish-free and stubble-free complexion, ice-blue eyes and swept-back auburn brown hair — which was dyed black forSherlock, blond for Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate.
It was Sherlock, of course, that made him a star. Since that first series in 2010, it’s been nonstop. ‘I’ve played so many characters so fast,’ he tells me. ‘I had a bank holiday weekend to transfer from Sherlock Holmes into Christopher Tietjens [inParade’s End].’
He admits he’s gone from an ‘anonymous actor’ into ‘apparently a sex symbol — although it’s a bit of a mystery why as my face has not changed that much during the ten years I have been in this business’. He’s even been responsible for a new word: Cumberbitch. (Urban Dictionary definition: ‘Any woman who has a deep fascination with the wonderful, beautiful, talented English stage and on-screen actor Benedict Cumberbatch’.) Meanwhile, @cumberbitches is one of the largest social-media fan groups around, with over 123,000 Twitter followers, describing themselves as ‘the most glorious and elusive society for the appreciation of the high cheek-boned, blue-eyed sex bomb that is Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch’.
There are no Cumberbitches around today. It’s too cold for them, or anyone else. It’s -7°C out on this frozen lake and feels bitterly, bone-bitingly chilly. Tomi says it’s not cold. ‘Last week was -24. This is mild for February.’
Tomi says when it’s -24 you can’t touch anything metal with bare skin — so no touching a car with your hands, no touching the viewfinder of your camera with your eyelid. Otherwise you’ll leave your skin behind. Benedict seems rather worried by that. I guess being eyelid-less wouldn’t be a good look for an actor. He tells us he tripped recently while jogging on Hampstead Heath and, when he fell, he thought he was going to smash his face. His next thought was for Steven Moffat, the co-creator of Sherlock, who, ‘would not have been impressed’.
The sun — hugging the horizon, even though it’s early afternoon — has just come out from behind the clouds. It’s the first time we’ve seen it. Up until now it’s been flat grey soft wintry light, like you get in Scandinavian crime dramas The Bridge and The Killing. Suddenly that big lake, carpeted in fresh snow, ringed by white-dusted pine and birch, sparkles under the bright winter sun.
It’s time to go rally driving. That’s the big attraction of Alive on Ice, a Jaguar winter-driving course open to all. You get to drive very powerful sports cars on a frozen lake (on this occasion near the Finnish town of Hämeenlinna), instructed by former Finnish rally champions. Benedict is a Jaguar brand ambassador and, back in London, drives a shiny black XKR sports car. On the Alive on Ice course, you also drive Ski-Doos and ride in sleds pulled by huskies. (Benedict loves dogs although he says he’s too busy to own one. Before he goes out on a sled, he’s on all fours in the snow with a dog tickling its tummy, his new best friend.)
On the frozen lake, driving a fast car, Benedict applies himself with the customary concentration of Sherlocksolving a murder mystery. ‘I do take challenges seriously,’ he admits. Tomi and a former Finnish female rally champion, Minna (‘She’s the fastest driver here,’ says Tomi) show him how to steer, how to brake and how to accelerate, to get the Jaguar to dance on ice.
His enthusiasm and determination are as clear as the bright Arctic light. At first, he spins (we all do). Later, after some practice, he’s powering and pirouetting around the Finnish ice lake, more Senna than Sherlock.
Cumberbatch’s intensity comes as no surprise. You have to be committed and laser-focused, I guess, if you’re going to morph convincingly from Sherlock Holmes to Stephen Hawking, from Vincent van Gogh to Julian Assange, from Frankenstein and the monster to Smaug the Dragon. He’s been an aristocratic WWI army officer (in Parade’s End and War Horse — he says he has the face for it), a secret agent (in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), a slave owner (12 Years a Slave) and a Star Trek arch-villain. He’s been Pitt the Younger and Young Rumpole. He’s even been on Sesame Street — ‘one of the best fun things I’ve ever done’.
In real life, he’s been car-jacked and has taught in a Tibetan monastery. And now he is in Finland, driving sports cars fast on ice. He tells me, on that frozen lake, that he tries to embrace ‘all the riches of life’ and likes daredevil sports: ‘I’m not a macho alpha male sort of guy but I do like living on the edge a bit. I like skydiving, snowboarding, kite surfing and I ride a motorbike in London.’
We first meet, the day before, at Heathrow airport, at the beginning of our two-day adventure. He tells me the only Nordic country he’s visited is Iceland ‘which I loved — it’s like the gateway to another world’. He says, ‘I love cold weather but I’ve never driven on an ice lake before. It sounds amazing’.
His biggest driving challenge to date was on Top Gear. He did Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, in which celebrities lap the test track as fast as possible in a low-cost hatchback. He practised longer than anyone. In the end, he was disappointed with his performance, which he describes as ‘middling’, which about sums it up — he was seventh out of 13, faster than Charles Dance and Ron Howard but slower than Susan Boyle, Jimmy Carr and Hugh Jackman. It is probably Cumberbatch’s only on-screen failure. He’s determined to have another go.
On the road from Helsinki airport to Hämeenlinna, we stop in a roadside café which reminds me of an American diner except the tables are real wood, the food is better and the drinks are way more expensive. Benedict tells me he got the part of Sherlockafter the producers saw him in Atonement playing Paul Marshall, ‘a chocolate millionaire paedophile rapist. He’s the darkest character I’ve ever played.’ The hardest character to play? WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. ‘There is such moral ambiguity there. Also, he wouldn’t meet me although we had an email relationship to try to get his perspective.’ The character he’d most like to play? ‘David Bowie.’
The next day, after some ice-driving instruction on icy fields near our hotel in Hämeenlinna, it’s off to the big frozen lake for the real fun.
We all power around a figure of eight. And around a short circuit — maybe half a mile long — constructed by snow-ploughing the lake. The piled snow acts as a crash barrier. It’s terrific fun driving fast, and mostly sideways, on ice. It’s a bit like snowboarding — always on the edge of being in control — but with 500bhp rather than gravity to power you. You’ve got a huge amount of power and very little grip, even with studded tyres. If you spin (and you will) you’ll hit nothing more metal-mutilating than a soft snowy bank.
I drive the XKR-S sports car, the fastest and most powerful machine Jaguar makes. It’ll do 186mph. But not here. All the cars are fitted with metal-studded tyres, for extra purchase. UK-specification tyres would have as much grip on the ice as a pair of brogues.
The object is to slide sideways around corners, just like a rally driver. You need to use the accelerator pedal deftly, the steering wheel quickly and precisely (during a manoeuvre your hands will pump like pistons) and, as Tomi says, you really need to feel the car through your backside. Get it right, and the tail of the car pendulums out, you steer into the slide and then you flick the car the other way for the next corner, Torvill and Dean on tyres. Or that’s the theory, anyway.
Benedict has another go, this time in a roof-down F-Type sports car, heater on max, V8 engine screaming, tyres grappling for traction. He energetically goes around the corners, nicely sideways, and when he stops he jumps out of the car — almost slipping over on the ice — and says, ‘Absolutely amazing! Amazing! That was the most brilliant fun!’
His enthusiasm is as palpable as the tyre tracks he’s carved in the ice. And, on one occasion, the chunk he’s taken out of a snowy barrier (we all do that). His instructor over the whole programme is Jaguar test driver Gary Palmer. How did Benedict do? ‘He’s determined, a good listener. He’s driven very well. He’s got a natural touch.’
I think Benedict Cumberbatch will be very pleased to hear that.
More for the Cumberbitches: Benedict’s guide to London.