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by Nigel M Smith
May 4, 2012 4:44 PM
9 Comments
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'Sherlock' Star Benedict Cumberbatch On the Sleuth's Sexuality and How His Own Stock Has Increased

He's the ultimate outsider hero. He's a very difficult, odd entity. To the Victorian eye he's an eccentric, but I think he has purposely repressed those things. So in my mind the idea (as it is in the original book), it seems born out of how he views women and humanity in general.

As a child, I think he basically really did put all that stuff aside. In this series, it's about him coming to terms with the fact that he can do a better job if he has a little bit of morality, feeling and emotion; to be able to play with those things without necessarily being taken over by them. I just think that enriches the character.

With any interpretation of this character, everyone has their own goals or starting point. For me, the idea that we're doing him young at the beginning is terrific, whilst we're adhering to a lot of the details in the book. I always go back to them as source for decisions on physicality, mood and/or temperament. It's done with such a forensic eye that you'd be a fool to turn your back on the original books.

And it's written by true fan boys. Steve and Mark are no doubt the biggest fans of Sherlock Holmes ever. They're getting to do what any fan would ever want to do -- sit in that world. We're honoring it and we're also giving it a modern twist by bringing it into the 20th century. That's our idea, it's the BBC's idea. We're very proud of them for letting us do it. We love doing it. It's great to be here. Such an extraordinary thing happened with the series: it's become a national obsession. My stock's gone up a bit, as has Martin's.

About that stock…what can you tell me about your role in the upcoming "Star Trek" film?

I'm having great fun on "Star Trek," but I can't talk about it. It's nice to have variety in your work.

"Sherlock" PBS
I read that you have Apple to thank for landing the role. You auditioned via iPhone, correct?

That was the only way I could record my audition and send it. It was the middle of Christmas and all of the casting directors in the UK were on holiday, so I had to do it myself. I did in a kitchen. Kind of old fashioned but with new technology -- a bit like Sherlock I guess.

Did you don any prosthetics for the on-camera audition?

I'm sorry?

Prosthetics, did you wear any?

The line's really bad, I can't hear what you're saying. [Maniacal laugh]

I hear what you're saying. You're not going to draw me out.

I'm not getting anything from you, am I.

No you're not [laughs].

Just listening to you speak, I'm reminded of Sherlock. You're a fast, but very calculated speaker. You seem to operate at warp speed compared to us mere mortals.

I wish I did.

You do!

Just before we started, this lady's hand reached over to dial the numbers on the telephone key pad. I went, "You've a cat haven't you? Have you traveled with it recently?" And she's like, "Yes I have a cat, and I've just been on a plane with it." I guess I've got a tiny smudge of his perception talents.

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9 Comments

  • P'lar | May 6, 2012 3:51 PMReply

    Great interview, but I would have appreciated a warning about the Star Trek spoiler - there's a reason everyone is being very hush-hush about Mr. Cumberbatch's role, and now his take on a seminal character in the ST universe won't be a surprise. Shame on , Mr. Smith!

  • Ava | May 5, 2012 8:02 PMReply

    I remember him from The Last Enemy where Benedict Cumberbatch was a standout. I love Sherlock because it just WORKS. There are many ways this show could go wrong, yet it seems to get everything just Right.

  • Natalie | May 5, 2012 3:31 PMReply

    Very interesting and enjoyable interview. Benedict is awesome! He seems so nice, funny and intelligent. And of course, he is tremendously talented. I look forward to his future roles in TV and Film :)

  • Disappointed | May 5, 2012 9:06 AMReply

    I love Benedict and his brilliant work. Sherlock was a delight!!!

    I'm disappointed at the Star Trek character SPOILER as I've been avoiding articles that go into any detail on plot, etc. It was unfortunate to ambushed with information that did not need to be in this article. Please do better!

  • ANON | May 5, 2012 7:57 AMReply

    [Maniacal laugh]

    ha!
    Don't think I've ever read that in a transcript before. Though he does have a perfect evil laugh.
    He's going to make such an awesome villain...

  • Neo | May 5, 2012 12:33 AMReply

    Great interview. It's interesting to get the insight of Cumberbatch's interpretation of this modern-day Holmes, which I found might be the most striking one among so many Holmes incarnations.

  • China | May 4, 2012 5:12 PMReply

    I hope Marvel and Cumberbatch can work together. Doctor Strange would be a very good fit for him.

  • helen | May 4, 2012 5:01 PMReply

    Is there an audio recording of this interview we can listen to. His voice is so wonderful I;m sure lots would like to hear it.

  • guest | May 4, 2012 4:59 PMReply

    Brilliant actor and if the screaming fangirls at the PBS Q&A are to go by he's got a huge fanbase