You have to love an actor who’s capable of laughing at himself.
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 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.”
Long live the Prince! On August 25, one of the most talked-about productions of Hamlet in the play’s 400 or so years in existence will officially open at London’s Barbican Theatre. That, of course, has everything to do with the Shakespeare classic’s headliner, Olivier winner and Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch, who has chosen, at the height of a dizzying screen career, to tread the boards in one of the most challenging roles in the theater.
Unfortunately, Cumberbatch has been forced to take arms against a sea of troubles. There were the critics jumping the gun and reviewing the play’s first preview (when the “To Be or Not To Be” soliloquy was tried out at the beginning) to some theatergoers not receiving Patti LuPone’s memo and thinking it appropriate to film his performance. This was despite the fact that National Theatre Live will be broadcasting the Lyndsey Turner-helmed show to cinemas around the world on October 15.
Happily, the fastest-selling ticket in London theater history, lives up to the hype. We can report that Cumberbatch is superb in the role, making the iconic Prince of Denmark his own. He is ably supported by the cast, including Game of Thrones’ Ciarán Hinds as the conniving Claudius and Tony winner Jim Norton as Polonius, who lands some of the most famous lines in stage history with delicious aplomb (“brevity is the soul of wit,” “method in the madness” and more).
Cumberbatch’s next projects include Doctor Strange and additional Sherlock episodes; we can only hope that he can find a gap in his schedule to bring the epic production to Broadway.
Hamlet plays at London’s Barbican Theatre through October 31.
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Looks like we have a World Premiere for Black Mass! Via Collider:
Festival season is almost upon us. Next week we’ll probably start hearing the lineups for the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, and we’ll know what movies might be trying to make their way in the Oscar race.
While they have yet to announce their full lineup, the Venice Film Festival has revealed that Scott Cooper’s gangster drama Black Mass is picking up some festival cred. The movie will play out of competition at the Festival on September 4th before opening in U.S. theaters on September 18th. The film stars Johnny Depp as notorious mobster Whitey Bulger, who simultaneously worked as an FBI informant and committed horrible crimes throughout the Boston area for decades. The film also stars Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Rory Cochrane, Jesse Plemons, Dakota Johnson, Peter Sarsgaard, and Kevin Bacon.
In case you haven’t seen it, check out the Black Mass trailer below. The 72nd Venice International Film Festival will run from September 2 – 12th.
In 1970s South Boston, FBI Agent John Connolly (Edgerton) persuades Irish mobster Jimmy Bulger (Depp) to collaborate with the FBI in order to eliminate their common enemy: the Italian mob. The drama tells the story of this unholy alliance, which spiraled out of control, allowing Whitey to evade law enforcement while consolidating his power and becoming one of the most ruthless and dangerous gangsters in Boston history.
Tilda Swinton to join Benedict Cumberbatch on Doctor Strange.
From an archangel to a lawyer to a vampire, there isn’t much that Tilda Swinton has taken on and not been brilliant at. Now, the British Oscar winner is attempting a new challenge – a Marvel film.
Tilda confirmed that she has joined Doctor Strange, also starring Benedict Cumberbatch, as The Ancient One who in the comics was known as the healer in the Himalayas who taught Strange how to tap into his psychic powers.
‘We’re so far in talks we’re not talking anymore,’ she told Screen Crush.
‘It’s done! The idea of playing The Ancient One is really just too tickling. I can’t say no to that!’
We can’t believe it’s taken this long for Tilda to get involved in Marvel and their magical stories, and it seems Tilda agrees.
‘I’m a Marvel fan and I think this particular world that Doctor Strange goes into is really, really, really exciting.
‘I’m really interested as both an actor and a fan to see what’s done in this particular world. It’s all about creativity. It’s not about everything exploding at the end. It’s about something very different.’
From this year’s Comic-Con, here’s the new video from the Christmas Special of Sherlock:
Sherlock super-stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman may not have been able to attend Comic-Con in person this year (again), but fans got the next-best thing: a scene from the show’s highly anticipated upcoming “Christmas special” episode that puts Holmes and Watson into the Victorian era. Check out the video below shorty, which just played in the San Diego convention center.
The cult-favorite comedy is expected to return for the 1800s one-off special later this year, and there’s a fourth season planned for a later date. The special will also play in theaters.
“We discovered there was some precedent for doing Sherlock in the Victorian era,” executive producer Steven Moffat said. “When we first did Sherlock, press asked how can Sherlock possibly survive in world with an iPhone? and when doing the Victorian, the press came in and said how can he do this without his iPhone? […]It’s very much the show you know. It’s the Sherlock as you know it, but in the correct era. It’s one of the best ones we’ve made. I think it’s really terrific.”
Moffat noted that in the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories, the female characters barely spoke, but that will change for their version. One challenge was “how to we bring our female characters into that era in a way that makes sense.”
The producer also teased the fourth season, which is still being written, as having “shattering emotionally draining you’ll-never-be-the-same-again cliffhangers” that will “sucker punch you into emotional devastation.”
Asked by a fan if Holmes will ever see his semi-romantic interest, Irene Adler, again, Moffat said he genuinely doesn’t know (which means “no” for season 4). Moffat said he might never bring her back because he likes the mystery of how their relationship concluded. “We actually don’t know how that night worked out,” Moffat said. “I did write a version of it … To be honest, I think they never saw each other again, is the truth—but they both smile once a day when they think of each other.”
Yet Moffat entirely clammed up when a fan asked if we’ll ever meet the third Holmes brother, who’s been just briefly alluded to in the show. “You already know how much of an answer you’re going to get,” Moffat said.
Even for the BBC, a channel with no shortage of inspired and timeless programming, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’s Sherlock has been a unique triumph of mystery-centric television, with a consistently moving and involving undercurrent of witty drama. At the center of it all, as always, is the relationship between Sherlock Holmes and John H. Watson, the greatest detective of all time and his ever-wise, insightful partner, and the chemistry between stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman has been a major drawing point for all three series of the program, which capped off its best series to date last year. So, its understandable that at the Sherlock Comic-Con panel, moderated by Sandra Gonzalez and featuring Moffat, executive producer Sue Vertue, and co-star Rupert Graves, who plays DI Greg Lestrade, the big questions surrounded the impending Victorian Special and Series 4, which all three were quick to say was a long, long way off.
Gonzalez did an admirable job of trying to squeeze details for future incarnations of the series from the famously prickly and tight-lipped Moffatt, who dominated the panel for the most part, but the panel was most memorable for Moffat’s unimpeachable sense of humor, and a fanatical love for the details of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories. Handling questions from Gonzalez and the audience, Moffatt, along with Graves and Vertue, proved largely self-effacing but not without adding some major tidbits about the process of creating the show, the series’ cast, and the production of the Victorian Special, which looks to premiere this winter. Check out the full recap below.
- Moffatt and Vertue started off by revealing that the Victorian Special will be released in select cinemas upon its proper release later this year. Moffatt was quick to point out how great the show looked on the big screen.
- Moffat said he thinks the Victorian Special is “one of the best” they’ve done thus far, going on to call it “terrific.”
- Graves revealed that, though he didn’t appear in the clip, Lestrad will be in the Victorian Special and will be wearing mutton chops, which he referred to as “hedges.”
- Moffatt insisted that the Victorian Special “has to be a standalone” episode of the show, rather than trying to work it into the show’s modern trappings.
- At one point, Graves referred to a part of the production process as the “same shit,” only to then read a warning that there were children under 18 in the audience.
- Speaking about the Victorian Special, Moffatt was quick to point out that it takes place in a “sexist” era and that in Doyle’s story, “women don’t speak.” He then said that these elements will be crucial to the story in the Victorian Special.
- Talking about his writing process, Moffatt was quick to point out that he never has an “oh I’m good” moment, and that most of the time he feels “haunted and miserable.”
- Moffatt opined that being a big fan of the show makes certain people “too obsessed to enjoy” Sherlock in a pure way, and related it to his feelings on the initial runs of Dr. Who.
- When talking about filming the Victorian Special, Vertue was quick to say that it was “harder to shoot” than the more modern episodes. She also said that they had their extras “walk faster” to avoid the episode feeling rote or stagnant.
- When discussing the physical nuances of the show, Moffatt said that they are almost never scripted, and that the comedy of the show always comes from the reactions.
- Vertue admitted that she loves “Rupert’s mugging” when reacting to what Sherlock does and says
- Graves admitted that one of his favorite moments was the “oh, you bastard” hug at the beginning of Series 3, when Lestrad finds out Holmes is still alive.
- When asked about her favorite gut-punch moment, Vertue chose the end of Series 3, specifically the look on Grattis’s Mycroft’s face when his brother has a cadre of guns pointed at him.
- Moffatt didn’t have a favorite gut-punch moment, but said he only really felt clever and thought a line was “not bad” was “I am Sherlocked.”
- Graves said that his favorite gut-punch moment was “Mary with the gun.”
- Talking about how he constructs the drama and mystery of the show, Moffatt emphasized the “backswing” and the “I should have seen it coming!” feeling that the show often gives off. He specifically referenced Sherlock’s relationship with Mary.
- Moffatt admitted that he reads the “stage directions” at the table reads.