Category: Interviews

How Benedict Cumberbatch Became Patrick Melrose

How Benedict Cumberbatch Became Patrick Melrose

New article about Patrick Melrose, plus a new shoot with Benedict and the Cast.

Edward St. Aubyn’s darkly comic novels about upper-class life in Britain, beloved by a generation of distinguished readers, come to Showtime next month.

In 2012, when it came time to publish a paperback version of the Patrick Melrose novels, the semi-autobiographical pentalogy by the English author Edward St. Aubyn, his American publishers had no trouble rounding up rapturous praise from a passel of distinguished readers: Zadie Smith, Bret Easton Ellis, Ann Patchett, Edmund White, Sam Lipsyte, and Alice Sebold. They might also have thought to ask a reader named Benedict Cumberbatch, who considers the books “the most exquisite achievements in 21st-century prose”—a fortunate view, given that Cumberbatch stars in the five-part adaptation of the novels that airs on Showtime in May.

A darkly comic indictment of Britain’s upper class, Patrick Melrose, which also stars Jennifer Jason Leigh and Blythe Danner, follows its protagonist from age five, when he is abused by his father (played by Hugo Weaving) in a country house in Provence, through his young adulthood, when he becomes a heroin addict in New York and London, to his recovery from drugs and transition to fatherhood. “It was a hell of an arc to play,” says Cumberbatch. “Patrick’s life is a nonstop madeleine cake of horrors.”

Portraying a character from age 25 to 45 was a significant challenge, Cumberbatch says—as was capturing the attitude and vocal mannerisms specific to Patrick’s class: “I went to a very posh public school, second to Eton, yet I had only one friend from the landed gentry. I’ve been trying to knock the corners off my accent ever since I left Harrow.” Cumberbatch consulted frequently with St. Aubyn, who, though he didn’t write the teleplay, made himself available to any cast member in search of biographical grist.

In the end, St. Aubyn reports, there’s unexpected consolation to be found in seeing his alter ego brought to the screen. “I’ve spent 25 years being asked if I’m Patrick Melrose,” he says. “So it’s a great deal of relief to be able to say, ‘No, Benedict Cumberbatch is.’”


Benedict promotes “Child In Time”

Benedict promotes “Child In Time”

Our gallery was updated with high quality pictures of Benedict during “Child In Time” Press Conference on February 22. You can also read a interview by Inquirier where he talks about the Child In Time and other projects.

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Will you do more theater? Work-wise, I’m trying to measure things around family commitments at the moment. Theater is pretty punishing for that reason, so that’s the only reason I’m pausing as to when.

But being the president of Lamda is a great excuse to do theater and drag as many students as are allowed into a rehearsal room, a dress rehearsal, as well as a show.

What was it like to be part of that epic Marvel Studios 10th anniversary class photo? I was next to Lizzie (Elizabeth) Olsen. It was amazing. You feel like a pixel in a massive picture. Yeah, it was incredible to be part of that and kind of moving, not least because of it being 10 years’ worth of people’s lives and the high risks they took, when it’s that big a franchise and how successful they’ve been at bettering their output with every single film.

Talk about your new series, “Patrick Melrose.” It’s an extraordinary story of an incredible human being. It’s no secret that Patrick Melrose is very much the alter ego of the author, Edward St. Aubyn. It’s very close to his life story—about a boy who was brought up in very privileged circumstances, but he was, behind doors, being sexually abused by his father for years.

The story then lurches into his 20s, when Patrick was a full-blown heroin addict and a very chaotic human being on the edge of losing his sanity and his life, collecting his father’s ashes in New York. Then, it’s on to the third episode, based on the third book called “Some Hope,” where he’s struggling with the early steps of sobriety and trying to find a true purpose in life.

In the fourth episode, he’s a husband and father and trying to do a good job and failing still because of the tense relationship with his mother. In the fifth episode, it all comes to a head. At his mother’s wake and funeral, he finally reconciles who he is, and what he has to become to be truly saved, and move from being a victim to being a survivor.

For you, what does “The Child in Time” represent? It examines childhood and time literally, as in the title, “The Child in Time.” It’s about what it is to develop as a child and what it is to regress into being a child, and the failed experiment Stephen Lewis has with that. Stephen was someone who was asked to become an adult too fast in his life.

In order to have a childhood, he experiments with letting go of the normal social practices of being an adult and regressing to childlike behavior. It unravels him. It’s a form of therapy in a way or just an escape and release—and, sadly, it unmoors his sanity.

What drew you to the project? I was drawn to this Everyman character, quite far from some of the more extreme characters I’ve played and somebody who, to the extent that I wore some of my own wardrobe just on a technical level, I felt I could get closer to.

Although the piece was a rumination and very poetic in its nature rather than procedural, it was very much an investigation into the reality of what that would be like, with little filter in the way.

Also, it was a great script from a book, from a novelist (Ian McEwan) I have always admired but, funnily enough, that book had escaped my attention.

What have you been watching lately on television? I’m watching “Wormwood” at the moment.

What else do you watch? The news (laughs). I’ve been watching a lot of screeners because of [Bafta and Academy] voting and catching up with my peers’ work, just being inspired and wanting to see great movies.

You seem to be fascinated with Ian McEwan’s words. Why do they appeal to you? McEwan always dabbles in that peculiarly brilliant art of presenting a recognizable world, but with quite a dark uncanny twist, an undercurrent of threat, danger, loss or anxiety. There is always something perfect about his writing. It’s very direct.

Let’s switch to music. Does it help you in your acting? Very much.
There are certain moments that I listen to bits of music to drown out the noise of a set and just as a point of focus. There are certain moments when there’s a track that resonates with a particular feeling of letting go, loss, or experiencing something that needs me to open up.

I don’t remember the track—which is irritating, I know—but it’s by Wild Beasts, an English band. They’re brilliant. Before I jumped off the roof of St. Bart’s (Bartholomew’s) Hospital as Sherlock Holmes (in a scene), I had that emotional connection with John (Watson). I do a lot without music, but it’s a gift when you find a song that leads you toward an emotional state, or gives you a tool to help you get that.


Benedict Cumberbatch interview – The Child in Time: Extra – BBC One

Benedict Cumberbatch interview – The Child in Time: Extra – BBC One

Benedict Cumberbatch gives an interview where he talks The Child in Time to Extra – BBC One, watch it below:

Benedict Cumberbatch Hoping for EastEnders Cameo

Oi, you! If you’re a Benedict Cumberbatch AND EastEnders fan you may well explode with excitement after reading this news – the actor is hoping to appear in the BBC soap.

Benedict has told his good friend, ‘Enders producer Dominic Treadwell Collins, he would love to sink a pint in the Queen Vic as soon as his busy schedule allows.

Speaking at the Radio Times TV Festival, Dominic said: “I really want Benedict Cumberbatch to come and do a turn. And he says he’ll come and do it but he is slightly busy.

“But he would be my dream.”

Meanwhile, it seems we could have Dominic’s mother to thanks for the lovely Benedict being in our lives as she apparently spotted his talent when the two boys were at school together.

Dominic said: “He was the year above me at school and I remember doing the Shakespeare play As You Like It.

“He was Rosalind and I was Audrey the country wench.

“I remember afterwards running up to my mum to see if I was any good and she said, ‘Yeah, you were fine but that Benedict is an actor.’”

Thanks Dominic’s mum for possibly planting the seeds of Benedict’s Hollywood career!


Movieclips Coming Soon Interview with Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch & More Speak Out For Syria

A host of British filmmaking talent have spoken out in support of Syrian refugees in the wake of the escalating human tragedy caused by the ongoing conflict in Syria. Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Michael Caine, Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch have all lent their voices to a campaign criticising the UK government for its response thus far to the humanitarian crisis and urging PM David Cameron to do more.

The issue of Syrian refugees has garnered particular media attention in recent days following the heartbreaking photos of dead Syrian children washed ashore on the Turkish coastline, attempting to find sanctuary. One image, in particular, of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi’s body being carried by a distraught Turkish officer, has shocked people around the world. Almost half of Syria’s once 20 million strong population has fled the country, many to neighboring Lebanon and Jordan, to escape the brutal violence that has engulfed the country ever since the beginning of an initially peaceful uprising in 2011 against the government of Bashar Al-Assad. The conflict has degenerated since then into a geo-political battle between competing regional and international powers, and been complicated by the emergence of the horrifically violent terrorist group ISIS in Syria and Iraq.


Benedict Cumberbatch Says: ‘I’m no sex symbol’

Benedict Cumberbatch thinks his sex symbol status is a “reflection and appreciation” of his work.

The 39-year-old actor insists no one ever found him attractive until he starred as the titular detective in ‘Sherlock’ and so believes people only think he is sexy because they are drawn to the character.

He said: “I was never seen as sexy by anyone until ‘Sherlock’ came along and so I understand [being seen as a sex symbol] more as a reflection and appreciation of the work, rather than my own natural magnetism.

“I certainly remember when I was an adolescent and despairing why girls weren’t interested in me.

“I’ve always maintained that Sherlock is sexy and people are merely projecting his cold, brilliant, charming, flawed self onto me.

“He’s an extraordinary man whose appeal lies in being so very different and difficult and someone whom people find strikingly attractive and compelling. He’s the ultimate outsider hero.”

Benedict – who has a three-month-old son, Christopher, with wife Sophie Hunter – is always delighted when fans stop him in the street to praise his work.

He told Britain’s OK! magazine “I’m very happy that audiences have responded so enthusiastically to the character.

“When people stop you in the street and want to congratulate you on your work and express their joy at having seen you in the role, it’s such an affirmation of that. You feel great.”


See Why Benedict Cumberbatch Is So Photogenic – Behind the scenes of TIME’s latest cover shoot

Behind the scenes of TIME’s latest cover shoot with Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch’s face doesn’t have a good side or a bad side — he’s very symmetrical, says photographer Dan Winters, who shot him for this week’s TIME cover.

“I’m not as concerned as I would normally have to be about where I’m positioning him, where I’m lighting from,” says Winters. “A lot of actors are pretty asymmetrical, and you have to work around that.”

In the cover image, Cumberbatch is seated behind a table, framed by both real and recreated World War II items: a rare vintage Enigma machine, a bomb wheel made by Winters, and more. The setup was meant to capture Cumberbatch as an actor with a nod to his upcoming film, The Imitation Game, says Winters.

“He showed up with a cool and modern retro version of what he wore in the film — something, he told me, he thought Turing would have worn if alive today,” Winters told TIME LightBox. “He had done his work and we used that in the shoot.”

The resulting mood of the photo was “quiet, a little pensive, sort of contemplative.” And yes, Cumberbatch looks great in it.


Benedict and the Cumberbitches – What fame looks like from inside a meme.

Benedict and the Cumberbitches – What fame looks like from inside a meme.

New York Magazine has a great article on Benedict, here are some parts and 2 photos:


The ones nearest the front have been camped out for hours, bodies wedged against barricades—a scrum of people ten rows deep, jockeying for position, climbing lampposts for better views, and rendering blocks of King Street, Toronto’s main downtown drag, impassable. “Denzel must be coming,” a middle-aged male passerby surmises, since this is a Toronto International Film Festival premiere. But no, it’s Benedict Cumberbatch, a movie star without a hit movie to his name and a made-for-meme, extreme-Brit sex symbol who plays his most notable roles (Sherlock Holmes, Julian Assange, Star Trek Into Darkness’s Khan) with a powerful whiff of sexlessness.

But neither logic nor common sense seems to apply to the seismic force of female hysteria that follows Cumberbatch ­wherever he goes. It happened at TIFF last year, too, when he was promoting his Assange movie, The Fifth Estate, which went on to become the biggest wide-release flop of 2013. And it’s ­certainly happening now, at the Toronto premiere of The Imitation Game, which is very much not a blockbuster but a World War II period piece about the antisocial British cryptographer (and gay martyr) Alan Turing. By festival’s end, it will have won TIFF’s People’s Choice Award, which has previously gone to The King’s Speech and 12 Years a Slave—a strong predictor that the math movie and its hot-nerd lead actor stand a good chance at the Oscars.

A black SUV approaches, and the shrieking begins. The crowd jostles forward, hundreds of arms with cell phones raised aloft, pointing through the cloud of homemade collages of Cumberbatch’s face. “He’s so dishy!” titters one frazzled redhead carrying crude drawings of Cumberbatch in the BBC’s Sherlock, with long curls and a trench coat, collar turned up. “I love his squinty eyes and just his face. My grandmother is in love with him, too, and she’s 75!” gasps a 20-something in a peacoat. Without warning, a tiny ­Japanese girl hurdles, impressively, from the back of the pack to the front, kicking a few heads on the way. The car door opens. The shrieking grows deafening. “Ben-e-dict! Ben-e-dict! Ben-e-dict!”

“I’ve known Ben for 15 years,” his Imitation Game co-star Matthew Goode will tell me the next day, “and yesterday was the first time I realized that he’s like a Beatle.”

No sooner has Cumberbatch sat down on the 31st floor of Toronto’s Trump Hotel and announced that he’d “fancy a pisco sour” than our preternaturally attentive waiter appears: “Two pisco sours, I hear?”

“Please!” shouts Cumberbatch.

“Singles or doubles? What kind of day was it today?”

“Doubles, motherfuckah!” says Cumberbatch, grinning and doing a seated dance. “Gotta be. Al-ways!”

He got hooked on pisco sours, he says, because he likes whiskey sours, and a friend who’d visited South America demanded he try one. He says he likes tequila, too, which starts a debate about whether pisco is made from cactus or grapes (it’s a brandy, so grapes), which prompts a discussion about Googling and books and Kindles and how nobody ever just knows anything or retains information anymore.

“Somebody probably told me when I was born what all of my life was for, but I kind of tend to forget information until it becomes immediately relevant,” Cumberbatch says. “Otherwise my head would spin off in a thousand directions, and it wouldn’t be pretty.” The highlight of his trip, he says, has been meeting Naomi Watts (“Man, I have such a crush on her. She’s just gorgeous. I know she’s married, and I’m very happy as well, but she—I think it’s her talent”). He’s been so slammed that he hasn’t seen any movies at the festival and is “desperate” to hear my review of all of them, particularly The Riot Club, a social satire about an elitist society of young wankers at Oxford that he’s familiar with from when it was a play called Posh, directed by Lyndsey Turner, who’s directing him as Hamlet at the Barbican next year. You might assume that Cumberbatch is an Oxford wanker, too, what with that ridiculously British name, that ­estimable vocabulary, that affinity for saying whilst, that silky posh accent, those piercing blue eyes, that chiseled face, that translucent skin suggesting overcast skies and manor-house ­libraries—all of which allows
him somehow to exude eroticism while resembling a 19th-century gentleman caller drained of blood and unfrozen by aliens. Or just an alien. Or perhaps a small amphibious mammal. He’s joked that his “weird face” might be indicative of inbreeding and “is something between an otter and something that people find vaguely attractive, or just an otter, which is vaguely attractive.”

(…) “I’m pretend clever. I’m not actually clever.” Phanto­gram is playing over the sound system, Cumberbatch pauses to notice. “Great band.”

How are our pisco sours, the waiter asks. “Pisssssco!” says Cumberbatch. “Good to drink in company when you’re getting pissed. It’s really nice, isn’t it?” We order another round.

I tell him that sometimes when I drink pisco, my face gets weird and tingly. “Okay, we’ll sort that out,” Cumberbatch says reassuringly. “Throw ice on you or something. It’ll be all right.” Then as soon as the waiter leaves, he jumps up. “Listen, I’m embarrassed, but I need the loo.”

“The Internet’s Boyfriend” is both an accurate descriptor of Cumberbatch’s current place in popular culture and the name of one of many Tumblrs dedicated to him, another of which is a name generator spitting out even more hilarious British-sounding names, like Tiddleywomp Vegemite and Wellington Comblyclomp. Members of his rabid ­thinking-women’s fan base call themselves the Cumberbitches, though some prefer Cumberbunnies or Benaddicts or Cumbercookies. (The object of their affection has said he thinks “Cumberbabes” is more feminist, or “the Cumber­collective.”) A survey of audience members at Cumberbatch’s Graham Norton Show appearance last year revealed fans who’d flown in from Japan or Hong Kong (he’s just as huge in Asia) or took a 20-hour bus ride from Germany. Since April 2013, an Indonesian baker named Vereen Tjoeng has been making elaborate Cumbercupcakes in his likeness. There’s also the hashtag #cumberwatch, which tracks his physical whereabouts; at The Imitation Game’s premiere, I overheard a group of girls who used it to locate the after-party and were planning to stalk him there.


You can read the full article over at Vulture

The Gospel According to Benedict

The hottest ticket in London next summer is not One Direction, Miley Cyrus, or Beyoncé. It is Benedict Cumberbatch playing Hamlet at the Barbican theater. Some 100,000 tickets for the 12-week run went on sale a few days before I was due to meet Cumberbatch — coincidentally at the Barbican — and sold out in minutes. Even by the robust standards of London theater (more than 22 million people attended shows in the 2012–2013 season), that’s some record.

For Cumberbatch, taking on theater’s most ambitious role — “a hoop through which every eminent actor must jump,” as the essayist Max Beerbohm once put it — may be a rite of passage, but it’s also a test of whether popular culture can open the gates to high culture. Can the pop idol Sherlock attract his screaming fans to the Bard? “I hope it sort of goes into the places that television sometimes can,” Cumberbatch says, “to draw people to see me live who haven’t seen Shakespeare before. We want the people who’ve never been in a theater, but we’re not into social engineering, so we can’t say to another cross-section of society, ‘Oh, sorry — you’ve got a library card. Fuck off.’ ”

Of course, the kind of fame that can sell out a three-month run in minutes also has its drawbacks. We’ve barely sat down at our banquette at Gin Joint — a fancy-pants brasserie at the Barbican Centre — when Cumberbatch curses gently under his breath: “Oh lord, here we go, here we go.” He indicates two middle-aged women in flowery dresses sitting at a table across the room. “The florals over there,” he says, eyes averted. “They’re giving a bit of a head-turning — it’s begun.”

Continue reading The Gospel According to Benedict