Benedict Cumberbatch: ‘I can’t just get anyone pregnant, it’s got to be the right person’

I don’t even know how to describe this interview with Benedict Cumberbatch. He made me laugh several times, he made me want to have his strangely beautiful babies, he made me long to move to London to stalk his pale, English ass. He’s lovely. He’s perfect. And he’s hilarious. The Telegraph sat down for an extensive interview with Cumby because he’s promoting his latest mini-series, a collaboration between HBO and the BBC – it’s an five-part miniseries adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End, with Cumby playing the lead character, Christopher Tietjens. The miniseries and book is set in the 1910s-1920s, before, during and after World War I, and the book was adapted by Tom Stoppard. You can read the full interview here – there’s quite a bit about the miniseries, which is interesting but I’m not going to excerpt much of it. Here are my highlights:

Playing the lead character in Parade’s End: ‘I love him. I really do think that Christopher Tietjens is the character I’m most fond of ever having played.’

Wearing padding and extensive makeup for the part: ‘I had [London mayor] Boris Johnson as a visual reference,’ Cumberbatch says, retracting his angular face into his neck and tugging at his jowls. ‘I wanted to go further with it… but I think they were slightly nervous about any kind of attractiveness being completely lost.’

Playing a character whose wife cheats on him: ‘The tragedy is that Tietjens and his wife love each other, it’s just the wrong kind of love, expressed in the wrong kind of way,’ he says. ‘There but for the grace of God a lot of us might go, or are going, or have gone.’

His newfound fame: ‘It’s all gone a little bit vertiginous recently. Fame is a weird one. You need to distance yourself from it. People see a value in you that you don’t see yourself. So when I’m told of my sex-symbol status and all that nonsense I find it laughable, silly. I mean, look.’ He gestures towards his face. ‘I’m 36 and I’ve been looking at this same old mush all my life.’

His first stage role: He acted throughout his school days, beginning at a pre-prep school in Notting Hill where he starred as Joseph in the nativity play and earned his first, intoxicating laugh from the crowd when he shoved the girl playing Mary off the stage. ‘I didn’t really understand it, and I wasn’t intending to play to the house,’ he says. ‘I was just furious about how self-indulgent she was being.’

Further education: ‘Then I went to Harrow [a posh, all-boys school], and that was really the moulding of me. In my first year I had the onerous task, having just established myself as a reasonably decent rugby-playing cricketer and footballer, of starring as Titania, Queen of the Fairies. I then followed up with a Rosalind that was deemed by my drama tutor as being the finest since Vanessa Redgrave’s.’ He laughs. ‘I have seen pictures of that and it’s quite scary – I look like I am possessed by a woman.’

He didn’t want a posh university: From Harrow he went to the University of Manchester to study drama, a deliberate detour from the Oxbridge route taken by so many of his peers. ‘Not that Manchester was really roughing it,’ he says, ‘but I didn’t want just an extension of my public school when I went to university. I wanted less exclusivity. I wanted more of life.’

A moment on doubt on Star Trek 2: ‘It sounds really arrogant but I don’t think I did [doubt myself], no,’ he says. ‘I’m not someone who’s naturally confident, I just knew no matter what it held for me, I was going to pursue it.’ There are still moments, he says, when his confidence falters. The first day he stepped on set of the new Star Trek film, joining an illustrious line of British stars who have played the villain in a Hollywood blockbuster, he had a momentary feeling of being out of his depth. ‘I didn’t know what I was going to do and I had very little time to establish the character in that franchise,’ he says.

Filming The Hobbit: Although he plays two roles, a necromancer and Smaug (a fantastical villain he describes with undisguised glee as ‘a 400-year-old fire-breathing worm who lives in the middle of a mountain on top of a pile of gold, who is three or four times bigger than the Empire State Building and can fly’), he barely encountered any other members of the cast. He worked on his scenes with the director, Peter Jackson, shooting against a green screen while wearing a motion-capture suit. ‘It’s sort of a grey all-in-one jumpsuit, with a skullcap, a Madonna headset and Aboriginal-like face paint,’ he explains. ‘You feel like a tit in all that gear but Peter is so lovely you soon forget.’

He longs for a family of his own: ‘I’ve been broody since I was 12, but I can’t just get anyone pregnant, it has got to be the right person,’ he says. I can’t imagine he has much time to look these days. ‘To find the right person? Oh well, there’s always a way isn’t there –and I don’t mean the internet,’ he adds, laughing. ‘I mean there are always moments and meetings and chance encounters. But to make meaningful relationships is very hard at the moment. Also, I was in a very, very long relationship all through my twenties and early thirties [to The Thick of It actress Olivia Poulet], so I know about looking for the right one, I guess. And it’s tough, it’s tough.’ For the time being, he says, he is single.

Feeling guilty about money: ‘I’ve done very well in a very bad time for our profession, which is weird. When you start getting jobs, and see your mates from drama school, you don’t really want to talk about it, because you have this innate sense of guilt that it’s not fair that others aren’t doing exactly what you’re doing. I do have that. The number of people my age, younger now, a whole generation younger, who are fiercely bright, over-educated, under-employed and who are politicised and purposeless really upsets me. It’s soul-destroying. So there is a kind of weird guilt about doing well. It’s interesting, but only very recently have I found myself able to say, “I’ve got some money in the bank account. I am allowed to enjoy this.” But at the beginning, and even now, actually, to be really honest, I’m simply thrilled to be getting money to act. Although,’ he adds, looking worried, ‘I don’t know if you should be putting that in print. If any producers read it, they’ll stiff me on my next fee.’

[From The Telegraph]

“I’ve been broody since I was 12, but I can’t just get anyone pregnant, it has got to be the right person” – PICK ME!!! ME!! For the love of God, I will have his posh, bizarrely beautiful babies. He should know that his weird features plus my Indian features will probably produce an amazing baby. Do you think he knows that? I hope he knows that. I’m waiting for you, Cumby.

Also – the bit about playing Joseph and pushing Mary off the stage because “I was just furious about how self-indulgent she was being” is Classic Cumby. I LOVE HIM.

Photos courtesy of Julian Broad/The Telegraph.

 

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80 Responses to “Benedict Cumberbatch: ‘I can’t just get anyone pregnant, it’s got to be the right person’”

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  1. Eve says:

    YES!!! I’ve been recently “Cumberbatch’d” and have been waiting for a post featuring him ever since.

    By the way, I don’t plan to have children (ever) — but whatever he asked me with that voice, he’d probably get.

    • Amelia says:

      Good to hear that Eve ^^ Welcome to the dark side…
      Still boycotting the Bourne Legacy or will you sacrifice $12 for Oscar Isaac?

      • Eve says:

        Yeah, Amelia…remember I kept saying I loved Hiddleston but was slightly being turned off by his fandom? Well, it finally happened.

        Plus, I was never actually disgusted by Cumberbatch — have always thought he had a VERY strange face, but it intrigued me for some reason.

        To answer your question: I’m still undecided — it’s less about the money (I pay half because I have a student’s card) and more about time and courage to live my house, take the bus and hit the mall (which I LOATHE). If any of my friends wants to see it, I may go. If not, I think I’ll wait for the dvd. Also, Tiffany27 said on another thread that Isaac is in the movie for about 10 minutes — so I have a little more to consider.

      • Eve says:

        @ Amelia:

        I actually went through all the posts about Cumberbatch here (on Celebitchy) to see if I had said anything I’d have to take back now but…PHEW! I hadn’t.

      • Eve says:

        Oh, good grief! I meant “LEAVE my house”.

    • Rory says:

      Eve, I wasn’t planning on having any kids either but…………
      Yes Benedict I will have your child!! The rest of you, back off! He’s mine!! :D

      • Genevieve says:

        Oh, FORGET IT, ladies…he’s MINE, ALL MINE!!

        Kaiser, I will dogfight all of you for Cumby. What is that? I’m 40 and probably can’t have oddly appealing little Cumber-kids? So what.

        Someone else can be his brood mare…age and confidence triumphs over youth and inexperience every time. ;)

        Oh, GOD, it’s a sickness. CUMBERITIS. Lovely, lovely Cumby.

        *snaps back into reality , looks at dear hubby and grabs leashes to walk whining doggies. SIGH*

      • Rory says:

        @Genevieve, Sorry darling, Benedict has already confirmed that I am to be the mother of his superior progeny. Now back slowly away from the Cumby and take a hike!!! (I mean this in the nicest possible way of course as I like you otherwise) :)

      • Genevieve says:

        Rory….

        Haha….I will still try to take you down; I work out, it could happen. ;)

        Always thought girl-fights were trashy, but DAMMIT, it’s CUMBY we’re talking about!

        However, you would receive the horrified but willing aid of my husband, stepson and three dogs to stop me in my quest to be The One. And honestly…that’s just the way I like it.

        A girl can dream.

  2. Jade says:

    He actually looks really good in that last photo.

    Now that is rare.

  3. Me says:

    I’m sorry but this man is not attractive…. at all.

  4. Esblondie says:

    Since I obviously just crawled out of a hole, will someone clue me in as to who this guy is?

  5. two_seconds_ago says:

    Awww! That’s so sweet, Benny’s waiting for me. :-)

  6. pretty says:

    He looks like a reptoid.
    Like his face is…a reptoid..

  7. sara says:

    He’s perfect I guess, if you’re into posh snobby assholes who look like aliens.

    I feel like Kaiser would have sex with anything if it had a British accent.

  8. Jennifer12 says:

    I love him; he’s so intelligent and articulate and passionate. And oddly attractive, too. I’m already married, but feeling a bit like I might want to propose to this guy. Or proposition him. I love that he says he can’t just get anyone pregnant; that alone is such a strong, passionate statement. Please let actors like this take over Hollywood.

  9. Ming says:

    What he said: Getting a woman pregnant.
    What he meant: Alien invasion.

  10. Amelia says:

    He is right…he looks rather ordinary.

  11. mel2 says:

    Atleast he’s thinking with the right head.

  12. Belly says:

    Why do I feel as though he’s looking straight at me in those photos: ‘Well then lovie, how about it?’
    Be still my beating ovaries!!

  13. Aussie girl says:

    His all yours ladies. He doesn’t do anything for me.

  14. zee says:

    ohh .. hi sherlock :)
    i love this man …
    great article, thank you Kaiser

  15. Halfmydadsage says:

    Yay. Birthday Cumbercrushing. Fantastic. As always this man does not photograph but on screen you can’t take your eyes off him. Plus he’s intelligent, funny and his voice. More cumberbatch. Yay.

  16. original almond says:

    Gorgeous eyes, off-putting lips and great intellect. Two out of three is good for me, check please!

  17. Birdie says:

    omg omg omg!! He was broody since he was 12? He is so adorable and yes, let me have your Cumberbabies!

  18. DANDILION says:

    Imagine a girl child.. eeeeek

  19. Erandyn says:

    He’s like a male version of Tilda Swinton, in the weird alien looks department.

    Doesn’t do anything for me, but I do enjoy the way he plays Sherlock Holmes.

  20. grabbyhands says:

    Every time I read this article, I read that sentence as “I just can’t get anyone pregnant” instead of how it’s written. It puts a hilarious spin on the segment. And I can’t help but giggle over the “…and I don’t mean the internet”. Maybe he’s trying to let the Tumblr crazies down gently.

    • Eve says:

      And I can’t help but giggle over the “…and I don’t mean the internet”. Maybe he’s trying to let the Tumblr crazies down gently.

      That’s an interesting perspective. If that’s really the case, then I’ll love him even more (and wish Hiddleston did the same with his fans).

      • dooliloo says:

        Thing is Hiddleston, as bright as he is, he let his general openness and closeness to his fans get in the way, so his hands are tied, hope it doesn’t have bad consequences… I just can’t wait the day he gets a girlfriend! It’s going to be 2012 meets The Day After Tomorrow in the batshit crazy fandom the world will end omg hahaha! *mean I know*
        Although despite the 90% of batshit crazy fans he’s got, the 10% is very interesting, he inspired them to raise funds for UNICEF and the guy didn’t even know about it. It kinda restored my faith in his crazy batshit-dom on that matter, that there are still decent fans who would do it for a cause. Still there is a long way to go indeed, his batshit crazy fans are just too much… It’s like 90′s boysband throwback only this one is the front singer the back dancer and the choir all in one… damn!
        As for Cumberbatch, his voice is like… smooth velvet *swoon*

      • Eve says:

        I worry because Hiddleston indulges them a way too much — for instance, there’s a new trend among the fans that stalk him at the doors of hotels and studios: they ask if they can hug him (and he always says “yes”).

        I won’t say anything about that (asking for a hug from a celebrity — it’s too long to post here), but I can say this about his attitude: the day he doesn’t give any of these girls a hug, and THERE WILL BE a day when it will be physically impossible to hug them all, he may finally see where he got himself into.

        I find Cumberbatch’s approach to his fandom far healthier than Hiddleston’s. He’s polite and takes pictures with them — but that’s it.

  21. Mia 4S says:

    *Channelling Katniss in the Hunger Games*: I volunteer!! I volunteer!!

    That part about shoving Mary off the stage is too funny. Seriously counting the days until Star Trek.

  22. Izzy says:

    I honestly did not find Cumby attractive AT ALL, but he looks good in these photos! Almost as attractive to me as Tom Hiddleston.

    Do I have a type, or what?

  23. Jenna says:

    I may not find him attractive, but after watching him in some films with my new beau (hello Tom Hardy) he is a fantastic actor. New fan of his work. :)

  24. marybeth18 says:

    I’ll admit that when you and Sarah from Cinesnark would go on and on about Cumberbatch, I didn’t get it. I mean, I know about non-traditional crushes, but he did nothing for me in still pictures.

    And then I saw ‘Sherlock.’

    Holy hell.

    He’s fantastic.

  25. j.eyre says:

    It took me so many years to get over him as Paul Marshall in Atonement – which just speaks to his talent. Oh but I love me some Cumberbatch. As for the kid thing, my husband made some smart @ss remark while I was filling out a form for my daughter so in the spot that asked for my child’s father’s name, I wrote in Benedict’s – that counts, right?

  26. Lindy says:

    Oh Cumby, how I love you! He is indeed lovely and perfect and hilarious. And he’s intelligent and he cracks wise so beautifully, and is so interesting in interviews. And can act circles around just about anyone.

    I love love love Ford Maddox Ford (The Good Soldier is a favorite novel of mine, and the Fifth Queen books are brilliant).

    Thank you for my daily dose of Cumby!

  27. MissMary says:

    lol now if he’d just say he likes amply curved gals… ;) I love his interviews–he’s quite dry-witted and it comes off as pompous sometimes (though, tbf, he does make quite a few privileged statements) but all in all he seems like a very intelligent, funny guy. At least on paper, lol.

  28. sunshine says:

    Yes, anyone can SAY anything in an interview (I mean, what’s he going to say, I want to impregnate a dozen random women???), and what fans forget is that tomorrow might bring some unexpected circumstance, and the next thing you know they’re getting ripped apart. It’s unfair to build people up so highly just to tear them up at the drop of a hat.
    That said, I don’t find his appeal at ALL, but I’m sure he’s a fine fella, and anyway, aliens need love, too.

  29. Becks11980 says:

    Lol – I have no clue who this person is but he doesn’t do anything for me.

    That may be because he appears to be a intelligent, grounded individual instead of a narcissistic neanderthal :)

  30. Thiajoka says:

    He’s so brilliantly talented. Even in the very short time of the small role he had in “Four Lions” he owned the film for that bit.

  31. bisolar says:

    Kaiser! You Tart! How fickle ur love is. Whatever happened to the ginger actor (I have forgotten his name ) U were crazy about. Gosh!what’s dats name again?D one in d film with keira knightley,and in Shame.
    Anyway thought you didn’t wanna have Kids ever?

  32. jamie says:

    Add me to the list of ladies who’d gladly have his alien babies.

  33. Ailine says:

    What is this Teen Beat? He knows all the right things to say…I don’t trust him. lol

    • Alice says:

      Agreed!! :) Even if we’re wrong – and everyone else somehow gets their wishes fulfilled to have his babies – I don’t think I’ll be jealous. (More often than not, raising a child with a TV/movie actor sounds like a lonely experience, because the celebrity is always jetting around, or on location, or schmoozing…)
      I do think he’s a good-looking guy. But rather than see him strike yet another Derek Zoolander-type pose, I’d love love LOVE to see how he actually handles a (real and unscripted) baby spitting up all over him … or see him change a seriously foul diaper! :) Can someone with a baby and camera please make this happen? Thanks.

  34. Aotearovian says:

    “I mean there are always moments and meetings and chance encounters. But to make meaningful relationships is very hard at the moment.”

    HE STOLE THIS LINE FROM FASSY.

    I didn’t get the Cumberbitchy before, but now I get it, because I totally have it. Thanks.

  35. Deb says:

    I think he is definitely a contender for the next Bond!

    Bring it on!

  36. Alice says:

    WOW. Just read an interview in which he complained about “posh-bashing” and threatened to move to the U.S. If the article’s accurate, he may have set an Olympic record (maybe even a world record) for how fast he went from appreciative and humble to spoiled and arrogant.
    Hopefully it was all a misquote or he just had a raging case of PMS the day he was interviewed. Otherwise, yes, he might fit in well in Los Angeles.

  37. Lindy says:

    Ok, I actually had to come back to this post today, just because I needed to see some Cumby pictures. I think I am an addict.