Benedict Cumberbatch has made a career out of playing brainiacs. From his breakout performance as a modern day Sherlock Holmes in the hit series “Sherlock,” to embodying Alan Turing, the famous British mathematician who helped crack Nazi Germany’s Enigma code in WWII, the actor has displayed a knack for getting inside the minds of geniuses and making them human.
As Indiewire discovered at a lunch for “The Imitation Game” on Monday, hosted by The Weinstein Company and Chanel (one of the film’s stars, Keira Knightley, serves as the fashion house’s “face”), the reason why Cumberbatch is so deft at appearing smart onscreen is because in real life, he’s incredibly intelligent.
While Academy voters and press dined on steak at The Four Seasons Restaurant this past Monday, Cumberbatch took part in a lengthy discussion alongside the film’s writer (Graham Moore), director (Morten Tyldum) and some of its cast (including Knightley and Matthew Goode). Moderating the talk was none other than award-winning biographer Walter Isaacson; a man who would intimidate pretty much anyone, having made a career out of writing about the lives of geniuses (he’s best known for blockbuster biography “Steve Jobs” — his latest book, “The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution,” touches upon the careers of Turing, Bill Gates and others.) Cumberbatch, as you can see below, was visibly undeterred by Isaacson’s complex line of questioning — he relished the opportunity to discuss Turing’s life at length and how he plumbed the “emotional truths” of the icon. It’s all a bit heady and pretty darn fascinating.
“The Imitation Game” opens in select theaters November 28. Watch the conversation below: