Our gallery has been updated with HD screencaptures of Patrick Melrose fourth episode. Enjoy!
Our gallery has been updated with HD screencaptures of Patrick Melrose third episode. Enjoy!
Our gallery has been updated with HD screencaptures of Patrick Melrose second episode. Enjoy!
The five-part miniseries, on Showtime, is a rare achievement: an addiction memoir that works on-screen.
Patrick Melrose begins in 1982, in London, when Patrick (Benedict Cumberbatch) answers a ringing telephone to learn that his father has died. Immediately, it’s apparent that something is off. Patrick conducts the conversation as if he is underwater. Director Edward Berger’s lens indifferently tracks his striped-shirted torso, his hand, then the top of his short-cropped head as Patrick struggles to keep himself upright. The camera’s heavy apparatus droops and nods uncontrollably, swaying back and forth in an effort to keep Patrick in frame. Finally, the contents of the call tumble out of the phone and into Patrick’s brain, and he bends over. We think he’s wracked with grief—but instead, he picks up a syringe.
Since Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater vaulted him into the English canon in 1821—and certainly since beat writer William S. Burroughs’s Junky, in 1953—literature has seen no shortage of addiction sagas. Patrick Melrose, a five-part miniseries debuting on Showtime May 12, is based on one of them; the show is adapted from a series of novels by Edward St. Aubyn, in which Patrick serves as the author’s stand-in for his own struggles with heroin, his abusive father, and the privileged but isolating world he was born into. At the height of his addiction, which stemmed from repeated, harrowing childhood trauma, he was going through $5,000 worth of drugs a week.
But instead of dwelling on the height of addiction, the astonishingly vulnerable, raw Patrick Melrose is largely committed to exploring the duller but more important work of recovery. As St. Aubyn told The New Yorker in 2014, the books track Patrick as he tries to move forward from addiction “with dignity, from an impossible assault on dignity.” His books, the first of which was published in 1992, have since won a cult following—which counts among its ranks none other than Cumberbatch himself. Cumberbatch has said that his only two bucket-list roles are Hamlet and Patrick Melrose. (Cumberbatch played the Danish prince at the Barbican in London in 2015.) Shortly afterward, producers Michael Jackson and Rachael Horovitz reached out to Cumberbatch about this adaptation of St. Aubyn’s work. Cumberbatch signed on to both play the titular role and to executive-produce the miniseries.
Actors’ pet projects aren’t often known for their elegance; the news that Cumberbatch sought out the part could have suggested that Patrick Melrose would be an amalgam of carefully positioned Emmy reels. It’s true that the series is a smorgasbord of acting opportunities—especially in its first installment, “Bad News,” in which Patrick is under the influence of heroin, cocaine, quaaludes, amphetamines, and alcohol, alternately and all together.
The effect is not of a bull in a china shop, or of peasants storming the Bastille. Instead, it is a distracted unearthing, as if the high-strung protagonist has overturned the noble trappings of his childhood because he is searching for something beneath. It’s a restrained gesture, and mostly gentle, as befits a man so terrified of encountering the world sober that he ingests any drug he can find. But his spirit is still caustic enough to dislodge the baubles and bits of glass that embellish wealth, to shake off the trappings of class to reveal the creatures who dwell within. Unadorned, and naked, their frailty is blinding. Patrick Melrose invites the viewer to strip away illusions, as he does—to meditate, with him, on what it means to try to be better.
Benedict Cumberbatch will star in a Channel 4 TV drama about the Brexit vote in the U.K., which will be timed to air as Britain leaves the European Union next March. Cumberbatch will play Dominic Cummings, the leading strategist and campaign director of the Vote Leave movement, which sought to persuade British voters to opt for exiting the EU.
“I am particularly pleased to commission James Graham’s hard-hitting and compulsive drama on how the Brexit vote was won with Benedict Cumberbatch in a new role,” Channel 4’s new programming boss, Ian Katz, said at a Channel 4 event in London, Wednesday. “It will be broadcast just ahead of our formal [exit] from the EU in March, assuming that we actually get around to leaving.”
Graham wrote the stage play “The Vote,” which was set on the night of the general election vote and featured an ensemble cast including Mark Gatiss and Judi Dench. His Channel 4 project “Brexit” will be a 120-minute one-off.
“I’m so excited – not to mention a little nervous – to have this chance to try and get under the skin of what happened during that historic vote,” Graham said. “I hope by going behind-the-scenes of the campaign, we’re able to interrogate the consequences of what happened during these 8 weeks that have changed the country forever.”
Beth Willis, head of drama at Channel 4, added: “James’ whip smart, funny and insightful writing is a breath of fresh air. We are so thrilled that he and the genius that is Benedict Cumberbatch feel Channel 4 is the right home for it – Brexit is exactly the kind of explosive and illuminating drama we want to have on the channel.”
House Productions, the U.K. indie producer created by former Working Title TV boss Juliette Howell and former Film4 head Tessa Ross, will produce “Brexit.” Toby Haynes (“Black Mirror”) will direct. Shooting starts later this year.
Britain and Europe are still grappling with the likely impact Brexit will have. At the Cannes Film Festival last week Margot James, minister for the digital and creative industries told Variety it would not have a significant impact on the U.K. film industry.
Yesterday, Benedict attended an event from Showtime “For Your Consideration” for promoting Patrick Melrose. Here are some photos.
Benedict Cumberbatch is at the Los Angeles Premiere for Patrick Melrose. Our gallery has been updated with over 200 high quality images from the premiere.
Benedict attended a Press Conference in Beverly Hills for his newest show Patrick Melrose. Here are some photos:
A new interview with Benedict about Patrick Melrose, which debuts on Showtime on May 12.
There was only one role on Benedict Cumberbatch’s bucket list that he’d yet to play: Patrick Melrose.
Now the actor can check that off of his list too. The Emmy-winning Sherlock star is returning to TV in Showtime’s wild five-part series Patrick Melrose, based on the novels of Edward St. Aubyn. The series follows Patrick’s rollercoaster life, tracking his search for identity, struggles with addiction, and trauma from his father’s abuse when he was a small child.
“It’s a man on the brink of collapsing into himself in an episode of drug-fueled paranoid schizophrenia,” Cumberbatch says in a new behind-the-scenes video for the show, which EW can exclusively debut. “[The show explores] epic, epic themes on family, class, the brutality of both, and the tender possibilities of love in both, as well as damage.”
Cumberbatch leans into St. Aubyn’s funny streak, giving the series a jubilantly comic edge, while not shying away from the darker side of things either. “There’s a lot of cruel wit” in the series, Cumberbatch’s costar Jennifer Jason Leigh teases.
For more on what to expect from Patrick Melrose, watch the video above, which also features more of the show’s cast and crew. Patrick Melrose premieres Saturday, May 12, at 9 p.m. ET.