Benedict Cumberbatch

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Benedict Cumberbatch in 2014

Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch (born 19 July 1976) is an English actor. Known for his work on screen and stage, he has received various accolades, including a British Academy Television Award, a Primetime Emmy Award and a Laurence Olivier Award, in addition to nominations for two Academy Awards, two British Academy Film Awards and four Golden Globe Awards. In 2014, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and in 2015, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).


  • I don’t know if watching your own work is a good or bad thing. I don’t know how much I learn from it. Each individual circumstance holds its own world of singularities and peculiarities. But among that, you can go: “Oh yeah, I remember that was what I tried to do.” Sometimes it doesn’t fit with the cast or the energy of the scene or the beat of another character. But to sit down in the audience and go: “Oh my God, I think that was what I intended”, was great.
  • It's time to start playing the smallest violin in the world for me right now. I was very lucky because I had other people's pets. I was like an uncle or godparent. You get all the benefits without any of the trauma. We had animals at school that we tended to, I don't know how they survived. I didn't go through the trauma of seeing them as babies and then going through their life cycle with them and the inevitable end. I love, love, love, love, love dogs. Cats, on the other hand... Don't ever do a film with them. They just wander around looking really unimpressed with everything. I love them, but working with them is really tough.
  • You know, I’m not a fan of horror. I’m a fan of some of those films, but I’m not a fan in the sense I find it very difficult to watch them. I’m very suggestible and gullible and I buy into what I’m watching and it just haunts me for too long afterwards. It just scares me for longer than the moment in the film. I don’t really like living a life in horror or terrors, other than that in the real world without my imagination creating more. Horror is not my genre go-to. It’s not my genre go to.
  • If I’m playing someone who’s smart, suddenly every character I’ve played is smart. If I’m playing a bad guy, every character is a bad guy. I suppose it’s that thing where people want to see a through-line to understand you. I mean, you know, I have played pretty ordinary people too.
  • Situations where what I say echoes much further than what is healthy. I would love to just have the work do the talking. We’re in positions where people ask us questions; they want to know about more than just the work. And it can go into areas where I’ve completely shot my mouth off, whether it’s too much about my private life or being too opinionated about things in the world. I think the better thing to do—I’ve learned this from people far wiser than me—is to do very good, quiet work behind closed doors.
  • What I try to look for is something that a general audience can relate to, to have an investment in these extraordinary people who achieve extraordinary things. That’s an easy task for an actor, to humanize these incredible machines of ideas that some of these people are. It’s not always easy, but that’s the challenge, and that’s what I’ve enjoyed doing. I’m very lucky.
  • If you’re talking about playing an iconic superhero, then there’s a huge pressure that comes with the expectations of what you do with that material, even though it’s fictitious. Obviously, if it’s someone that’s real, there’s the pressures and the rightful kind of responsibility of protecting a legacy. But they’re very, very different kinds of pressures. At the end of the day, it’s about trying to do a good job.

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