Benedict Cumberbatch: ‘I’m not ginger… I’m auburn and there is a difference’

Over the weekend, The Guardian published an EPIC interview with Benedict Cumberbatch to promote The Fifth Estate. I usually hate The Guardian’s celebrity interviews with a passion – their celebrity interviewers are almost always total snobs who spend the entire time making fun of their interview subject. But not so much with Cumby, although there’s not much room for the writer to be snarky because Cumby can TALK. And talk and talk. If no one stops him, he’ll just riff for whole paragraphs. Which means this piece is really long, so I’ve cut out some interesting stuff (sorry).

After receiving an email plea from Julian Assange, begging him not to do the film, Cumby emailed him back: “I don’t want to go into any great detail, but it took me four hours and the central thrust was: this is not documentary, this is not a legally admissible piece of evidence in a court of law, it’s not going to alter perception in a way that is actually politically going to damage you at all. People who will come to see this film will be savvy enough to see it as what it is; it’s a starting point, that should both provoke and entertain. It will be a talking point, but your life, your private life, your persona, is fatefully intertwined with your mission – it cannot not be now. And to be honest, I think the sort of general perspective on you is still echoing from the kind of character assassinations that began way back when, with the initial leaks, and that is now heightened by the accusations of sexual misconduct in Sweden, and so you’re known as this white-haired Australian weirdo wanted for rape in Sweden who’s holed up behind Harrods in some embassy. So the misinformation about you is already there. I said listen, this film is going to explore what you achieved, what brought you to the world’s attention, in a way that I think is nothing but positive. I admit to doing work because I’m a vain actor. I want to be able to say, yeah, I’m playing a lead in a film. That’s a huge career move for me. Yet I’m not acting in a moral vacuum. I have considered this, and whatever happens, I want to give as much complexity and understanding of you as I can.”

Researching Assange: His performance draws heavily on his research into Assange’s childhood. “I know it’s a Freudian cliche to go, ‘Oh well, when I was a kid…’, but, to be honest, it’s so profoundly true with Julian. To have been a child in a single-mother relationship, being pursued around the country by an abusive stepfather who was part of a cult – to be taken out of any context where he could discover who he was in relation to other people – well, to then become a teenage hacktivist, and evolve into a cyber-journalist, to me makes perfect sense. And he’s still a runaway today. I find that profoundly moving. He kept isolating himself. Every bridge he built, he burnt. And I understood why at times, because he is on a trajectory that’s different from other people. And, because of that, he can’t form those human relationships that other organisations have. And that is tragic.”

Some pragmatism: But before Assange and his followers get too excited, Cumberbatch turns out to be decidedly ambivalent about what WikiLeaks and other cyber-whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden are up to. He is alarmed by the revelations of mass surveillance by the NSA and GCHQ, and doesn’t like the idea of anyone reading his private emails – “It’s none of your business” – but then adds, “Oh, but you might have stopped me from being killed on a tube I took last Wednesday. If they are saving lives, how can we say that’s less important than civil liberties? You don’t have any civil liberties if you’re dead. Isn’t it hypocritical to say, we should know everything about you as a government, but the government can’t know anything about us?” Assange argues for total transparency for powerful institutions, and total privacy for individuals. “But if you are a private individual who’s packing semtex to kill people and destroy what we know as democracy for political purposes, then you’re more than just a private individual.”

On Chelsea Manning: “But he broke a law. He knew what he was doing.” Manning has applied for a presidential pardon, but Cumberbatch can’t see why Obama should grant it. “He did what he did out of a conviction that an alarm bell needed to be sounded. But his superiors might have been right to say to him, it’s not your position to be worried about it within the hierarchy of the military organisation, which is why he had to be sentenced. He took an oath, and he broke that oath.”

The Matt Damon thing: “I have to explain this whole thing about Matt Damon,” he laughs. “I’m a big fan of his, I think he’s great. I mention this in a phone interview, and the woman down the other end of the line goes,” and he adopts a silly, high-pitched American accent, “‘Really? Do you really like him? Really? Why?’ I was like, ‘Why? Well, um, because he’s a really talented actor, he’s done lots of great things in his life, I think he’s great. It’d be great to meet him.’ ‘You wanna meet him?’ ‘Er, well, yeah, I mean, of course it would be great to meet him and hang out.’ ‘Well, we could facilitate it!’ ‘Oh, OK. Great. Do pass on that I’m a huge fan. It would be great to see him.’” He pauses to roll his eyes. “Next day: ‘Benedict Cumberband’s Bromance With Matt Damon!’ You know,” he laughs, “it’s all that shit.” Does it drive him mad? “Well, sometimes. But mostly amused, really. You can’t get too tied up with it.”

Wrapping Season 3 Sherlock: “I felt very sentimental on the last day of shooting, thinking, ‘Oh, I’ve got to say goodbye to him again.’ He’s f–king hard work, always has been, but I love him, and I got sad that I wasn’t going to see him again for a while.” He won’t reveal much about the new series, beyond a coy, “Well, there’s a reunion that doesn’t necessarily go to plan. And there’s a bonding experience that throws Sherlock and Watson back together in a very firm way. And there’s a new union as well, in the shape of a marriage, which Sherlock takes part in, so we see that.”

[From The Guardian]

Cumby also talks about how he marched in opposition to the Iraq War and how years later, he was horrified to read the WikiLeaks war documents. He also says he doesn’t want to speculate on whether Assange might be autistic.

Benedict also has a friendlier, less political interview with The Toronto Staryou can read it here. He admits that he’s late for the interview because A) he’s perpetually late to everything and B) because he “popped outside” for a cigarette. Halfway through the interview he starts sucking a (wait for it) maple sugar candy which he enjoys thoroughly. There was also a wonderful exchange about Cumby’s natural hair color – he insists he’s neither blonde nor ginger, saying:

“I’m not ginger… I’m auburn and there is a difference. I’ve got very good friends and relatives who are ginger and trust me, there’s a difference. And they ain’t ever gonna see the proof! They might say, ‘We saw it when you were the Creature in Frankenstein!’ (a stage play in which Cumberbatch appeared nude), but they didn’t, they didn’t! The Creature in Frankenstein had darker hair than me. That was one of the oddest moments of my life, applying makeup to that particular part of my body, but I have hair that is auburn. It’s got streaks of red in it, definitely. It’s also got streaks of bronze and lighter colours and darker brown colours. When I was a kid I was as blond as the young Julian in our film.”

[From The Toronto Star]

I love that he speaks at length about his HAIR COLOR because seriously, the Cumberbitches have had some fights about that one. Also, is he saying that he has auburn hair down there? JESUS CHRIST, Benedict. Now I won’t be able to concentrate on anything else today. Cumby also says in the same interview, “I’d like to play someone who can sing and dance. I’d like to do that. I’ve not done a musical. I’d also like to play a romantic comedy . . . there’s lots more stuff I’d like to do.” Oh God. Singing and dancing Cumberbatch?! Tumblr would melt down, if it hasn’t already with all of the talk about his auburn dong muff.

Photos courtesy of The Guardian Weekend Mag.

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184 Responses to “Benedict Cumberbatch: ‘I’m not ginger… I’m auburn and there is a difference’”

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  1. RocketMerry says:

    Yeah, he is kinda cute. I’ll concede it.

  2. T.fanty says:

    He’s right. There is.

    And what makes the interview so great is the correction he sends in after. Standing up for his opinions just makes him hotter.

  3. Anna says:

    Jeeez, dude, relax. Gingers are hot!

    PS – nice photo-shoot!

    • Yep says:

      There are not enough male ginger celebrities. It saddens me.

      • Emma - the JP Lover says:

        And yet, many people still insist Michael C. Hall is ‘not’ ginger, when the first thing I noticed when I finally bought and watched Season 1 of “Dexter” (I came into it in the 4th season) was his red hair. I only ‘thought’ he was ginger during the “Six Feet Under” years, but “Dexter” confirmed it.

    • Lucrezia says:

      No … as a fellow auburn-haired person, I have to back him on this one. Auburn is NOT ginger. There is a difference.

    • T.fanty says:

      In his defence, being a ginge in the UK is different to being a ginger anywhere else in the world. We are universally reviled and mocked. That’s why I’m also auburn.

      • Yep says:

        I’ve heard that.

        I’m not going to try and compare it, but gingers get shit here (the US) too.

      • Sixer says:

        It’s so true. Ginger (pronounced with two hard Gs) is a pejorative. You’re either auburn or strawberry blond(e). Anything but ginger.

        And yet half the women are walking about with hair dyed one or other shade of red (including me).

      • Lucrezia says:

        It’s not just the UK, gingerism is rife in Australia too. (Thus my defense above.)

        Though actually, now that I think about it, the word ginger isn’t actually that common here these days. The new one is ranga. (Short for orang-utan.) I loathe that term.

      • T.fanty says:

        My experience in the US has been very different. Maybe it’s the Irish fixation in NYC, but people are obsessed with my fair. On more than one occassion, I’ve been stopped on the street and asked out by men who just refer to me as “red.” When I’m with the matching Fantlings, it gets remarked on at least once a day by a stranger. The difference in attitude blows me away.

      • Anna says:

        I think Bottle Auburn has become a trademark of Russian/Eastern European women around the world, like stilettos in a ice storm. Which is why I stay the hell away. I much prefer a proper ginge.

      • Leah says:

        I’m still trying to get over the fact that he actually “went there” with the make-up… begs the question- did JLM?

        Also- since when does Cumberbatch, he of the Harrow education and love for all things bookish and intelligent, drop an “ain’t” in conversation? My Southern redneck heart beat a little faster, I’ll admit.

        Still- was I the only one having a strange vision of Cumberbatch in front of the mirror, make-up sponge/brush/whatever in hand, dabbing the dong thatch to achieve JUST THE RIGHT shade?

        Auburn indeed.

      • T.Fanty says:

        Annnnnnnnd there goes my productivity for the day.

      • Sixer says:

        Public schoolboys say “ain’t” too! But as an affectation.

        The bestest ever (well, he’s pretend, but y’know) British public schoolboy, Flashman, says ain’t every other sentence.

        I can see Cumby as Flashman. Farting and galloping into battle.

      • T.Fanty says:

        Thanks, Sixer. You killed my joy. Now I can get back to work.

        (and he says it for the same reason he swears constantly. Because he’s trying to distance himself from the whole public schoolboy reputation in spite of his name, attitude, cardigan collection, and pretty much everything else about him. Never change, Cumby.)

      • Leah says:


        This is a thing? Really? Good grief, the next thing you’ll be telling me public school boys also drop the occasional “y’all” and “fixin’ to”

        At which point, I might cry a little. Just a little.


        Cardigan collection? Doesn’t that imply more than one? I figured he’s got like, what? Somewhere between 2-4 that he just keeps re-wearing. And this is assuming at least one of them probably has his name stitched in the back of it. I could be wrong though. My world is still righting itself after the “ain’t.” I can’t NOT hear it with a southern drawl. Oh woe is me.

      • T.Fanty says:

        I hope it is just the one. I couldn’t bear to think that he opens his closet every morning to a rail full of identical grey cardigans. The prospect of multiple chambray shirts is bad enough.

        And please let MamaBatch have stitched his name into the back of it.

      • Sixer says:

        @ Fanty – mea maxima culpa. In my defence, I replied before your productivity showed up (er… down, er… I read about it).

        @ Leah – no fixin’, no y’all. Breathe easy!

        Now, back to comb-dyeing thatch before I ruined it!

      • Leah says:

        It is just the one. He likes to style it differently depending on his mood. And it isn’t grey, thank you. It’s a nice muted-dove color that goes well with this burnt-sunrise jeans. It brings out the aquamarine undertones and steely iron flecks in his eyes.

        His mother stitched his name in it, but only because Hiddles was eyeing it up, and you know Cumby doesn’t share his muted-dove cardigan.

      • T.Fanty says:

        Noooo, it’s okay. I’m back in my Thatcher archives. I can’t risk developing a Pavlovian response that combines any part of Cumby, dong-painting, and free-market economics. My life would become a living hell.

      • curlsunited says:

        Believe me, there are seven identical cashmere cardigans (he likes to change daily), and not only did Wanda stitch his full name into the back of it but also “Monday”, “Tuesday” …

        I am willing to admit that there is only one cambray shirt, which he likes to wash by hand in the bathtub rather than take it to the dry cleaners.

      • Green Girl says:

        I really hate this shirt he’s wearing in the Guardian. I don’t know what’s worse, that he has a million versions of this shirt, or that he just has the one and wears it over and over.

      • T.Fanty says:

        @ curls,

        There is not one bit of your posting that I don’t desperately want to be true. The prospect of Cumby sitting in his bathroom, hand washing his little shirt (and maybe his stripey socks), with a cigarette hanging from his mouth and a nice cup of tea by his side makes me both incredibly happy and sad. Maybe he can borrow @shw’s washboard.

      • Tara says:

        T.fanty, that makes me sad to hear. But I guess it’s just because the English have always wanted the Irish to fall in line and we Never will. I could throw the English under the bus about their looks but it’s just to easy.

        Also when I lived outside of Philly (huge Irish population) I was teased all the time. Now living in Central Florida I am “exotic”. Both men and women usually from Central and South America look and admire me
        like I’m a unicorn.

      • curlsunited says:

        @T.Fanty: And he never travels without his darling little travel iron (wasn’t it next to his passport and the chocolates in the Harlem Shake video?). He was perpetually wearing the cambray shirt(which is fine with me, I actually adore it) in Tokyo. It was wrinkled when he arrived at the airport but immaculate the next day. A bit of detergent and a quick blow-dry job with the hairdryer – voilà, shipshape and Bristol fashion.

      • Janey says:

        I’m auburn (by Cumby’s definition at least) and I’d love to be a proper red head, I dream of irn-bru coloured hair. It would have sucked at school, though.

  4. Tish says:

    In a note sent to the Guardian after publication of this story, Benedict Cumberbatch said:

    “I feel my views have been misrepresented. Do I think Manning should be pardoned? Yes. Do I think that’s likely to happen? Sadly no. Re Snowdon I said in the interview that the use of threats to life as a reason to erode civil liberties through intrusive government surveillance can also be as dangerous to democracy as the terrorism such actions claim to be preventing. This wasn’t printed for some reason.”

    • Sixer says:

      Jeepers. How depressing. Liberty has had to be called in to help rebalance the civil liberties part of an interview in the GRAUNIAD. I feel very downhearted about this.

      • T.fanty says:

        I just had to google Grauniad.

      • Tish says:

        They also have this now:

        The subheading on this article was amended on 16 September 2013 because it did not adequately reflect a nuanced interview.

        “Sherlock Holmes made him an unlikely superstar……. and why Chelsea Manning broke an oath”

      • T.fanty says:

        Well, everyone in the comments jumped on him and started calling him a Tory. I have a lot of respect for his decision to weigh in and clarify. It was a bit tabloid-y of The Guardian to reduce an intelligent interview to “vertiginous cheekbones” and pubes.

      • Sixer says:

        @ Fanty – sorry, I type it automatically, I’ve said it for so long. It’s like a univ abbrev for me.

        @ All – shockingly poor form on the part of the GUARDIAN (!) since it now looks to me as though the interviewer purposely mis-precised his view just so that they could get in the public school dig.

      • Lucrezia says:

        The pubes were definitely in the other article.

        The Guardian had vertiginous cheekbones and my new favourite: Cumby having bouncy charm after his “sudden inflation in sexual currency”.

      • Abby says:

        @Sixer its an apt name for guardian. It goes to show how much of a tabloid they have become rather than an authentic newspaper. I don’t trust anything they print for my sanity’s sake.

      • T.fanty says:


        My mistake. I read them both at the weekend and didn’t reread the interview above. I need a mini-Sixer to perch on my shoulder always and keep me attentive to detail.
        The public-school-baiting was a total Daily Mail move, though.

      • Janey says:

        The note was originally sent to the Guardian – it’s in the comments. Presumably, not enough people immediately backtracked on their comments calling him out on this nonsense. I think the interesting thing about his response is that he says he was “misrepresented” – he thinks Manning should be pardoned but also believes she should just have quietly ignored everthing in favour of protecting the hierarchy? And then he adds some fence sitting about Snowden. I think I love Cumby more when I get to have imaginary arguments with him, where I explain why he’s wrong. I’d also like to hear you-know-who on any similar topic, I suspect that if he could be engaged, he probably wouldn’t be tripped up by his own vocabularly and wouldn’t needed to send whingy notes clarifying his posistion. The mildly annoying thing about this, of course, is that Cumby will now have to clarify his clarification in future interviews and it’ll be all sound bites and meh. (One mans terrorist is anothers freedom fighter, you say? what a new and interesting thought)

      • Lucrezia says:

        @ Janey: “he thinks Manning should be pardoned but also believes she should just have quietly ignored everything in favour of protecting the hierarchy?”

        That’s not quite the way I read it. My take was: what Manning did was morally right, but she still has to face the consequences of her actions. In a perfect world, morally right and legally right would align. But it’s not a perfect world: thus presidential pardon is unlikely.

      • T.Fanty says:

        A presidential pardon isn’t happening. They threw the book at her in an unprecedented way. They’re clearly trying to make an example of Manning. Which makes the general sense of public indifference about the whole thing sadly ironic. I think that the NSA scandal says more about us than it does our government.

      • Tish says:

        “what Manning did was morally right, but she still has to face the consequences of her actions. In a perfect world, morally right and legally right would align. But it’s not a perfect world: thus presidential pardon is unlikely.”

        YUP. I think this was his point too. And I agree with him.

      • Sixer says:

        I also think that is what he was trying to say. And I am cross with the Guardian (concentrating on typing it proper-like).

        @ Fanty – I concur. Westerners living in representative democracies can’t see past the vote as the main denominator of their freedom. And sad to say, it’s probably the least important thing on the list.

        I don’t know what the future will bring in terms of online lives and big data capacity, but it’s going to impact on our rights and freedoms and, in consequence, our democracies too. I wish people would realise it more (and more quickly) so that we can have a proper conversation that isn’t limited to characterising individuals as traitors or heroes.

      • T.Fanty says:

        But what’s really frustrating is the fact that everyone so easily buys into the rhetoric of “good and bad” or “patriot or traitor” – that’s how inculcated we are to (with?) lazy media writing that depends on scandal and soundbites to keep us returning in an ever-crowded market. We’re the first real generation facing this kind of literacy and it’s easier NOT to tackle the philosophical questions that demand we take real action, because it’s easier to hit the “like if you enjoy democracy” button that EVERYONE posts on facebook in righteous indignation that lasts about thirty seconds until a picture of a cat dressed as a rabbi starts making the rounds. We have an unprecedented opportunity to educate ourselves into a powerful and pro-active public with real might, and we’re piddling it away.

        Prism happened because the government seized on a moment of collective paranoia, and used to that begin taking advantages of rights we are happily signing away. It’s our own attention span (or lack thereof) that’s crippling us, not our government’s intrusion on our personal lives. As long as we continue to abdicate our own sense of responsibility, it’s a hop, skip and a jump from NSA to pretty much all the crap Putin is pulling these days. We can’t wait until it gets to such an extreme to react.

      • Sixer says:

        Absolutely. It’s the other side of the same coin, isn’t it?

      • T.Fanty says:

        Or is it the same side of the other coin?

      • Janey says:

        The fact that Cumby is ignoring/unaware of the fact that whistleblowers are legally protected in the exposing of criminality is bizarre, to me. What did she expect to happen? She expcted to be protected by the law, and the idea that she should have put her faith in her military superiors and acted in a way that was contrary to morality boggles my mind. The fact that people can argue that the action was morally right, but that she deserved punishment is something I cannot parse.

      • EscapedConvent says:

        Well, I can exhale & begin to breathe normally again.

        I was sure that someday, someone was going to mock him for “vertiginous.”

    • minime says:

      Thank you for sharing that. I was actually stuck up on what he said about Manning and a bit disappointed.

      • Lucrezia says:

        I understood the nuance of Cumby’s stance on Manning, since I’d read previous articles.

        What has me confused is the pronoun issue. The Guardian article has Cumby referring to Manning as “he”. Last article I read on the topic (Buzzfeed) had Cumby using the politically correct “she”.

        Did Buzzfeed fix it for him, is the Guardian reversing it, or what?

      • T.Fanty says:

        The Guardian referred to her as Chelsea Manning in the actual article, no? To be honest, it takes a little getting used to. Because the switch is so new, I keep having to think twice about who Chelsea Manning is.

      • Lucrezia says:

        Guardian kinda makes a mess of it, imo. (Which is why I’m wondering if they edited Cumby’s use of she … I’d normally assume direct quotes were accurate).

        The sub-head says Chelsea. First time she’s mentioned in text it’s [Bradley] Manning. Second time is “Bradley, now Chelsea”. And absolutely no pronouns (except those in quotation marks), to the point where it seems like they’re going out of their way to avoid them. On the other hand, they could’ve wanted to use “she”, and tried to avoided it because it’d make Cumby’s “he” stand out even more.

      • Tish says:

        I think he wasn’t just aware at the time. Old interview, prior to TIFF. There’s a Buzzfeed article wherein he refers to her as a “she”. And reports from TIFF say that he is one of the few people to refer to Chelsea Manning as a woman.

      • Lucrezia says:

        Ooh, thanks Tish! It hadn’t occurred to me that the interviews might have been published out of sequence. That exonerates everyone. :)

    • Tish says:

      The Guardian admitted that they were mistaken. They released an unedited transcript:

  5. Yep says:

    Whatever. Let your auburn locks flow free, Cumberbatch!

  6. Abby says:

    That guardian interview created some noise where peole have again started bashing him left,right and centre.

    But I’ll rather have his honest opinion on these issues than a diplomatic one. Celebs these days are so afraid to talk about sensitive/political issues just cz they don’t want any kind of backlash.

    I am glad that the actor I admire has the guts to put forth his opinions without being apologetic about it.

    • gefeylich says:

      Nah, the nasty Guardian comments are due to the fact that Britain abhors a success. Really, when a British person becomes very successful, especially in the US, practically everyone in the UK turns on him/her.

      It’s a very strange thing which can only be offset/avoided by the successful British person totally repudiating or mocking their success (biggest practitioner: Emma Thompson). For Cumberbatch to express joy in his success is tantamount to putting a big target on his head.

  7. blended says:

    i LOVE that he coloured his pubes for frankenstein. the guy is all in, whatever character he’s playing. he’s so endlessly fascinating.

  8. Azurea says:

    His detailed description of the subtleties of his hair colour makes me laugh. I can just see him craning his neck in a 3-way mirror, cooing to himself, “Ooo, there’s a streak of red! And oooo, there’s a bronze highlight!”

  9. curlsunited says:

    Great! I’ve been waiting for this post ever since I came across the Toronto Star interview. Nothing’s gonna stop The Cumb once he’s warmed up to a topic. He’s such a darling, explaining about his hair. This hair, I mean. I also loved the following:
    “Cumberbatch begins to elaborate, while the four publicists/assistants seated behind him look up from their iPhones and iPads with amused interest.” Bet they would. By the way, the man employs four publicists/assistants? (And did one of them double as his hair wrangler?)

    • blended says:

      the studios/agencies/and or TIFF also provide assistants depending on the celeb.

    • Mia 4S says:

      I doubt he employs all four; it’s more likely some are studio/production company wranglers. He’s in Hollywood now, they’ll keep a careful eye on him.

      It’s a good interview with some good points, bad points, and tough choices. This is not a black or white issue and these people are very far from pure hero or pure villain. I really wish there could be mature debate in the world today but more likely than not it will just deteriorate into righteous outrage and groupthink on Internet message boards, livejournal, and twitter. As Sherlock would say , “dull”.

    • T.Fanty says:

      If he does have a little PR team, I like the fact that they’re letting him off the leash. His whole brand is based around the fact that he’s intelligent and unconventionally good-looking, and they need to let *that* be his appeal. It’s refreshing for us that he seems honest and unpolished.

  10. GeeMoney says:

    Love him regardless of what color his hair is.

  11. Beth says:

    He’s just so great, isn’t he? I hope he doesn’t get jaded and stop giving such great interviews. I hope he does a good talk show circuit next month for his movies. I can’t get enough of him.

  12. CaribbeanLaura says:

    I cannot believe that the comment section isn’t ablaze with shrieks of Auburn Pubes!!!! squee!!!!!!!! Seriously because that’s all I can think of. The need to see this dude naked has just increased 10000000 fold. AURBURN PUBES PEOPLE!!!!!!


  13. Shw says:

    Auburn Dong Muff is now the name of my band. Thanks!

  14. judyjudy says:


    Happy Monday to me!

  15. betsy says:

    He’s just announced he wont be at the Emmys because he’s working on TIG. Sobs quietly.

  16. fabgrrl says:

    I find it strange when people refer to my son as a ginger. He isn’t. He has strawberry blond hair, no freckles, and he tans well. To me, a “ginger” is a distinct look: red-red hair, pale skin and freckles.

  17. CaribbeanLaura says:

    By the way I LOVE gingers, I call myself a ‘ginger minger’ No idea what a minger is but it ryhmes. I love red hair in general and gingers just do it for me.

    Rupert Grint?- Check
    Michael Fassbender and the Ginger beard of sex? – Check
    That random guy from real world St. Thomas – Check
    Ed Sheeran – not so much sry.

  18. Vesta says:

    Cumby gets my respect for his Guardian interview. I think he really tried to toss the subject and find different interpretations (even before he sent the clarifying note), but (as so often happens) some commentators seemed just want to pick up certain words in order to give political labels and taunt him. Must be frustrating.

    But I’m amused that in both interviews there were some talk about “bushes”. It’s good to know he always laughs at “The Only Bush I Trust Is My Own”. Ha.

    His hair colour though, I knew he isn’t pure ginger like, say Rupert Grind is, but I still thought he’s gingerish; I wonder if that term would be ok. But it doesn’t matter to me anyway – auburn it is, and don’t worry Cumby, I won’t be checking with a flashflight how the truth lies down there…

    • curlsunited says:

      Just a couple of days ago I bought tickets for the National Theatre’s Encore Screening of Frankenstein (nearly sold out) in December. I thought I’d prefer to see him as Victor Frankenstein rather than the Creature, but now, in the light of recent events, I wish there was a third version: Creature sans loincloth.

  19. Ginger says:

    Eh I’ve had every version of red hair color available at the salon from strawberry blonde to auburn to fire engine red. And never have I NOT called my self a redhead or a ginger. Correct me if I’m wrong…but Gingers aren’t well thought of in Britain right? Maybe that’s why he’s weird about it.

    • penguin says:

      No there’s a weird stigma attached. When I was in school the ginger kids were bullied. My bff in school had mahogany coloured hair. She was called named like ginger minger, had boys trying to pull her knickers down to see if she had ginger pubes. It was pretty appalling.

  20. Maya says:

    Not thrilled about his misgendering Chelsea Manning, but I guess that’s a pretty common mistake.

    • betsy says:

      In all his interviews at TIFF he said SHE so give him some slack.

    • Maureen says:

      Bradley Manning misgendered himself. It’s certainly his right to want to be female and refer to himself as a female, but why is this forced on every single other human being? Once again, the personal feelings of one individual is dominating national headlines. I feel compassion for whatever Bradley Manning is going through regarding his self-identity, but don’t force me and others to view him the way he views himself when it is not rational to do so.

      I can think I’m the Queen of England but I have no right to make other people refer to me as Your Majesty.

      • Emily C. says:

        Chelsea is not going through anything with her self-identity. She is a woman. Having been born with male organs does not change that fact.

        Your comparison makes exactly zero sense. There is one Queen of England and we know precisely who she is. Half the population of humanity is feminine gendered. It is not a singular identity that only one person is allowed to have.

      • Maureen says:

        Emily C., that is your opinion. Manning is a biological male, and the fact that he chooses to feel/think something that has no scientific basis is certainly his right–as it’s your right to side with him and my right to vehemently disagree with both of you.

        I can think I’m the Queen of England or Chinese, it doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that thinking I’m something I’m not doesn’t make it so.

        My only point is that no one should expect the world populace to change the way they speak because one individual doesn’t like the body he was born in. I’m really addressing the firestorm over Benedict referring to Manning as a male (which he is) before he’d got the news that Manning was demanding to be referred to as female. Benedict has corrected that now, so you can all be happy. My issue is with the way he was treated BEFORE that.

      • Trek Girl says:

        @Emily C.: just a simple question: if his body is male, but he thinks and feels that he is female, could it not be that his mind is the problem and not his body?

        There are people who think they are fat when they are thin; we tell them they are mistaken, because they are. There are people who think they are one person when they are really another; they are corrected. There are people who think they are something or someone and they are nearly always corrected, because they simply aren’t what they think they are.
        Why is this man, who is clearly a man, being referred to as a she when he isn’t, and why is that ok? Why is he, and others like him, so special that we ignore what their bodies clearly are in favor of how they feel?
        There are people who are born with both types of genetalia or physical signs from obvious to not obvious that make it clear that something happened when they were forming. I am not talking about them.

      • Sixer says:

        But people may live as they choose.

        Maureen – are you seriously saying that you would insist on calling Chelsea Manning Bradley? And referring to her as him. Even though it’s quite plain that Chelsea Manning lives as a she named Chelsea?

        Whatever your opinion of transgender issues, surely it’s plain good manners to refer to someone as they refer to themselves and as they asked to be referred to? If someone’s name is Jessica but they hate it and prefer to be called Jess, would you insist on calling them Jessica?

        You’re perfectly free to hold any opinion you choose on transgender issues – and whether it’s a choice or a biological truth or not. I hold a different opinion to you, clearly, and such is life. But I will call you out on spiteful rudeness. Chelsea Manning should be referred to as SHE. Because she asked to be.

      • Gretchen says:

        Yeah, I’m just going to leave this here for the transphobes who think it is some giant imposition to use an individual’s preferred pronouns. If someone, anyone, changed their name, for safety reasons, because of marriage, or just because they felt like it, you would respect that right? Why on earth are trans* people less deserving of that respect?

        I’m also really curious as to how Maureen and Trek Girl became the chief of the identity police, with the power to decide who is what they say they are. If you personally struggle to understand how a Trans* woman is a woman, I would suggest further reading on the issue. Even if you really can’t wrap your head around it, would it be such a stretch of the most common decency to respect someones wishes and simply make s+he=she

      • Trek Girl says:

        @Gretchen: I’m not phobic of trans people, I don’t even dislike them, nor am I the Identity police.

        I’m mentioning the fact that other people who think they are something they aren’t are corrected, or it’s acknowledged that they think they are something they aren’t. With transgendered people, however, there almost is never a question of mental health, even when their body is clearly male or female, even chemically. The response is “Well, that’s how they feel, so that’s what they are”. I don’t think that’s logical.

        I do not however think the trans person should change if they don’t want to; that wouldn’t be good for them. I also see no problem with people finding other ways, nice ways, to refer to the trans person when they feel that using “he” or “she” isn’t something they can do. There are ways to go about that that respects both people.

      • Noreen says:

        @ Sixer

        Yes. The answer is yes, but I don’t know why you have to ask me since I already have been doing that. I am a rationalist. No one will ever make me co-sign or submit to irrationality–such as referring to a man as a woman and vice versa.

        And I fully support everything @ Trek Girl wrote. Excellent points.

        I can understand how you all feel passionately about this topic. I only ask that you consider the fact that there are others who think differently from you. I hope that you can be at peace with people who don’t agree with you on issues you feel passionately about.

      • T.Fanty says:

        Chiming in here, but if it gets ugly, I’m checking out.

        Biologically speaking, yes, at this time Manning is still male. But gender is, as we well know, a social construction, no more so than marital status. So if she chooses to live as a woman, and assume female identity, then who am I to say she’s not a woman? I don’t understand how this isn’t that simple. Nor do I understand how it’s my business to judge her on how she wants to define herself.

      • Sixer says:

        Thanks so much for replying, Maureen – or is it Noreen making a return?

        However, my question was about courtesy, not the validity of transgender identity. I think it is simple common courtesy to refer to people as they ask to be referred to and I’m surprises you don’t. It doesn’t jndicate support; it indicates good manners.

        But, like Fanty, I dislike ugly, so thanks anyway for the response. :)

      • TommyAnnE says:

        It’s really basic guys: you call people what they wish to be called. If you are uncertain what that is, you ask. You respect their choices, their nodily integrity, and their decisions. To do otherwise kind of implies that they don’t belong to themselves and that you somehow have a vote in this. That’s a pretty vile thing to do. #basicmanners

        (EDit: And clearly since I am TommyAnne, perhaps it is time for Miss Eyre to beat me with a flyswatter and feed me snozzleberries)

      • Gretchen says:

        The thing is Trek Girl, that isn’t even true. Trans* people have fought for a long time NOT to be pathologized. The medical community has often compared being Trans* to suffering from bodily integrity disorder, and for decades people identifying as Trans* have very much been questioned about their mental health and subject to horrific treatment….so maybe you need to do a bit more research, as you seem pretty shaky on the history of this issue.

        Aside from the transphobia, what exactly is logical about denying another person the basic courtesy of referring to them as they request?

        Being told “hi, my name is x, please call be by that name and use abc pronouns, and responding with “ok” IS the logical response. Refusing to do so because that person doesn’t meet your narrow criteria of having the name x or being abc pronoun applicable is identity policing and is transphobic. And how the hell do you know what a persons biological markers are anyway?? Do you have everyones’ medical history filed away somewhere?

        Oh and @Noreen
        “I can understand how you all feel passionately about this topic. I only ask that you consider the fact that there are others who think differently from you.” Do you not see how ironic your statement is here? You want your opinions considered when you won’t consider alternate gender identities?

      • Maureen says:

        First, I want to clear up something here so I don’t get into trouble! I posted earlier from my iPhone under the name Noreen. I used to post from my Macbook as Noreen but my posts kept getting eaten by filters and a simple switch of the name seemed to work. I wasn’t in trouble with mods or anything like that. It was the filters. I mentioned it a few weeks ago when I first posted as Maureen that it was me so that no one would think I was trying to troll under different names or something. It never occurred to me that my iPhone retained the name Noreen while my Macbook did not. Does this even make sense? Sorry for the confusion. [EDIT: And I see that @Sixer did catch that! :) ] I know it is against the rules but I didn’t do it for a nefarious reason and that’s why I’m clearing it up. My mom is named Maureen, BTW!


        There is no irony/hypocrisy in my statement. I have respected the opinions of others. I have not called names, unlike you and others who referred to me (and Trek Girl) as “transphobes” and responded to us in an extremely sarcastic manner. Respecting the opinions of other does not mean you have to agree with them. It means you don’t attempt to demonize them or lash out with ad hominem attacks no matter how passionately you feel.

        Now, I’m done with this thread, as I have nothing else to add. Thanks.

      • Sixer says:

        Hi Maureen/Noreeen – if you could let us know which name you’d like us to call you, that would be great. :)

      • Sixer says:

        Oh, Noreen. I was making a joke. (As I am now, too).

        Apologies everyone: I am entirely aware this is a serious topic.

      • MBP says:

        Gender and sexuality is not a binary system. (Not that they are dependent on each other, but more people seem at least familiar with the concept of gay/straight/bi/omni-sexual/asexual etc).

        Plenty of cultures have multiple genders

        Sounds like the problem is in your head rather than Mannings’.

  21. Dawn says:

    Yep I agree with him because I am an auburn also. I really like this guy.

  22. Maureen says:

    When it gets to the point where you have to issue statements to correct your own words in an interview, that’s a pretty sure sign it’s time to stop talking about politics and hot-button, controversial issues and just PROMOTE YOUR MOVIE. The same goes for using interviews to correct/explain/defend OTHER things you said in PREVIOUS interviews.

    Really, Benedict, please stop.

    • blended says:

      but the nature of this movie is that he has to talk about hot-button issues. and journos keep asking him the questions. he has said more than once that he is just an actor, not a politician/lawyer/expert. but that’s never a good enough answer. he could just do dumbed down movies, but that’s not his style, and i love him for it.

      • Maureen says:

        I don’t think he needs to talk specifics about every issue connected to Julian Assange…especially when some of those issues involve foreign governments. Why is a British citizen speaking out against how some other government and military deals with its soldiers? It’s none of Benedict’s business quite frankly. But yes, he’s free to say whatever he wants and I’ll support anyone’s free speech to give an opinion even if I don’t agree with that opinion. However, he’s proved time and again that he’s not very good at this.

      • blended says:

        @maureen he keeps getting asked the questions. i watched the red carpet at TIFF live and it came up a lot. he can’t avoid the question. and snowden/manning are in the news right now so of course it will come up.

      • Maureen says:

        Yes, you’re right. He gets asked and he can’t control the asking. He can only control the answering, and I saw some of the footage from the red carpet interviews and there were a number of times when he deftly handled certain questions by saying “well, I’m not an expert” or “it’s really not for me to say”, so it’s clear that he CAN do that and he knows HOW to do that — to shut down a question — and be polite at the same time. I feel that in these print interviews he has more time so he goes all in and the results are a mess. I think that Benedict is a “verbal processor”, which is why he talks A LOT — he’s actually processing information and formulating ideas as he speaks — it’s something I understand really well. However, because in print his words are subject to editing he just ends up coming across as expressing ideas that lack consistency and cohesion. I don’t think he means to. But I do think he needs to stop now. It’s enough already. I really like him. I like him a lot, and I love his acting. I believe in him as an artist even though I don’t agree with many of his opinions on current events and politics. It’s not that I don’t want him to share his opinions. It’s that I don’t want him to look bad. He needs to know and understand his own limits.

  23. Emily C. says:

    Oh my god he is so flippin’ annoying. Did he drink ten Red Bulls before this or something? Blather blather blather.

  24. shw says:

    Just found this

    Interesting read. Although it continues more of the mis-gendering of Chelsea Manning.

    I did wonder if he was quoted out of context because of his tendency to waffle, and it seems as if that is some of the problem here.

    • MissMary says:

      Given how the press works, and given that he was very clearly referring to Manning by her proper pronoun at TIFF, I’m willing to bet the misgendering was an “editorial choice” by the print press.

    • Leah says:

      Yes, the waffling, I think that’s the main issue. And I don’t blame him. this is an incredibly complex issue… but I think that’s what’s getting him into trouble. I guess? Sometimes he waffles, sometimes it sounds like he’s taking a firm side… who knows.

    • Sixer says:

      From that, it’s clear that his points were taken out of context and the reader was given the wrong impression of his views.

      I think, with the pronouns, he got muddled with timeframes. Lots of people think it was Bradley when he did The Thing, and now it’s Chelsea. But the pronoun gets retrospectively changed as a matter of manners and etiquette. It trips a lot of people up.

    • Katie says:

      I can’t tell when these quotes were taken, tbqh. Reporter references Sherlock filming (that’s before Manning’s announcement) and then TIFF, which is after.

      BC refers to the press mocking her photo and gender confusion during the trial, but that was all before she formally announced her transition.

      Yikes, though, those added interview parts really change the overall answers. Not sure what the Guardian is doing. They’ve got her as “Bradley” all over the article too.

      • Janey says:

        I’m quite enjoying the passive-aggressive nature of this exchange between Cumby and The Guardian. I wonder what’ll be released next. That said, BC did say the Manning should have been convicted, he may feel the sentence was harsh, but ultimately he believes that conviction was the correct course, not because of any threat to life, but because an oath was broken. He repeats the bit about breaking an oath/breaking a rule. His comments about mass surveillance were interesting and I wish that’d been printed in full, simply because it was interesting and showed his awareness of the world around him. That said – his comments about it being hypocritical to want to know everything about a Gov’t and not have the Gov know about us is just, to me, so off base. Governments are officials elected to represent us, that is why their actions should be transparent. The bit at the very end about Assange isn’t quite correct, as far as i’m aware, Assange supports privacy but understands there are circumstances whereby an individual’s right to privacy can be cirumvented, which is what I think Benedict was getting at with his end remark (maybe, possibly)

        TL:DR – he said pretty much what we thought he said about Manning, prevaricated about Snowden/civil liberties.

        I’m going to have a chuckle about him saying you don’t have any civil liberties when you’re dead, now. God, I love Cumby – not afraid to have an opinion (many of which I can ridicule at my leisure) and he’s as cute as a kitten in mittens.

      • T.Fanty says:

        @ Janey,

        I agree that it would have been more interesting to publish the quotes in full. To be honest, I don’t get his fire-with-fire/Orwellian/square to circle analogy entirely, probably because he seems to be conflating three different sides (public/government/’public enemies’) into what is essentially a binary relationship between “us” and “them.” It seems to bounce around a lot, so I guess they cut for more clarity. It sounds as though he’s talking through an idea for himself.

        It also seems like he’s being REALLY careful not to say that the real problem with Schedule 7 is the ease with which it can be misapplied by self-interested governments, and, my god, is he right to avoid that minefield considering all the criticism he gets for his socio-economic (real or perceived) status.

        I’m probably the only person who doesn’t mind the Manning mis-application of gender. When Manning was arrested, we all learned of her as Bradley. Since changing to Chelsea, she’s out of the public eye, so it’s easy to forget because we haven’t had a chance to ‘learn’ the new association. It’s an easy and simple slip to make that probably wouldn’t happen if she had hit the news as Chelsea since the sentencing.

      • Janey says:

        @Fanty, I definitely think the comments were cut for clarity – I don’t believe there was malicious intent or a desire to misinterpret what was said. I do think Cumby was gathering his thoughts together and is genuinely torn about the increase of surveillance on private citizens. I also found it interesting that he qualified his statements at one point with, “I’m only saying what everyone in your paper has already said” I wonder if he was trying to fence sit a bit, or talk around the issue, as you say about not wanting to directly reference section 7. I’m always pretty careful to reference Chelsea Manning as she or Chelsea but I also sometimes just refer to “Manning” and skip pro-nouns completely. I think you’re right when you say we learned of her as Bradley and that is why she is referenced as Bradley Manning. I give Cumby a hard time when he talks about politics, because I get the impression that he skews right of centre, but I appreciate that he generates discussion. I’ve always said that I’d like to go on the lash with Hiddles, because I think Tom off his leash would be hilarious and gossipy, but Cumby is all dinner, fine wine and discussion. Discussion which would collapse amid thrown wine glasses and shouting, and Cumby’s upper class arrogance chafing against my working-class salt of the earthiness – apparently stereotyping doesn’t bother me at all when there is chance of witnessing Cumby giving his bitchy superiority full reign. I could go on, but I feel I’ve derailed your well-crafted arguments quite enough.

      • T.Fanty says:

        @ Janey,

        I don’t know. I think Cumby wants to be both. I think TommyAnne would be fun, and is probably quite filthy, but I also don’t think he ever quite lets go. We give Cumby a hard time about being snooty here, but by all accounts, he’s INCREDIBLY down to earth and quite silly. I think Cumby would get hammered, call us whory chavs as a joke, then send thirty texts the next day, worrying that we took it the wrong way because he’s posh. He seems to have a great time working with Martin Freeman who ostensibly has a wickedly mean sense of humor and that says something.

        Here’s my theory (you know, on a person I don’t know): his family is quite upper-middle but also quite down to earth. There’s SO much about him that screams frugality and sensibility. But he’s been raised amid Harrovians and society. I think he’d adapt to suit whomever he was with. He’s also had the luxury of being in a secure relationship for a decade before he became famous, during the time we all do stupid crap and then figure out who we are. That’s quite a great thing to be able to do that in a safe space of a committed relationship. I think he’s very no BS, and that’s what comes across – a regular person, with all their contradictions and flaws and imperfections. He is large, he contains multitudes (because invoking a little Whitman at night is never a bad thing).

        I’m giving this way too much thought, because the alternative is looking at unemployment charts from the 1970s. My evening ROCKS.

      • Janey says:

        Fanty – you had me at Tommyanne being filthy. Hell, Tommyanne could have me, if he promised to be filthy. I have to qualify that, of course, by pointing out that I refer to War Horse era Tom – when he was all Errol Flynn and secure in himself. His body language back then was something to behold. As for Cumby, I very much like your interpretation of his character – I’ve definitely heard people say that he’s really fun and that that side of him doesn’t get much play in public – I imagine partly because the press have an image of him and ask questions that reinforce that image. As for whorey chavs – I think he would blurt that out and then look mortified and back track, all while swearing hugely. And hugging, lots of hugging – he is very secure in displaying physical affection to anyone, without coming off clingy which – to be serious for a minute – speaks well for his character . I would take advantage of his mortification for the egregious insult of calling me a chav (I am Scottish, we are not chavs, we are neds) by making him perform Macbeth for me. I think we could persuade Cumby to indulge in a pervy Tom banger, actually, if only because I suspect he would enjoy the name – the bit about him giggling about the sign in the protest march that said, “the only Bush I trust is my own” and that being his strongest memory of that day made me smile. I agree about the frugality, actually – I know he wears expensive clothes, but he wears them to death. I have to say, there are a few actors I really like and whose careers I take an interest in, but who I could walk past in the street and either not realise it was them or be able to be pretty restrained and leave be – with Cumby I strongly suspect I would be ridiculously star struck. I don’t know why this should be. Unemployment in the 70s, eh? You know how to live, Fanty. I am looking at my copy of the Odyssey, thinking about reading it and humming the theme to Ulysses 31. I should say that I have to read it for Uni, the humming the theme tune bit of the cartoon is just for fun.

      • Katie says:


        Some small business owner mentioned he worked as her waiter for two years while he was trying to get somewhere acting.

        I can’t stop laughing about it because the place was called ‘the Chocolate Tart’.

        But seriously, I think what you’ve said is pretty accurate.

      • curlsunited says:

        @Janey, T.Fanty
        I missed the party and the cocktails, as usual (but enjoyed reading about it over morning coffee as soon as Mr. Curls had left for work).
        May I just say that I like both your comments on his character or the way we perceive/like to interpret him (from a distance, of course).
        Cumby’s interviews are anything but dull and give most journalists something to chew on, dip into and quote from. I infinitely prefer the more controversial articles to those in the “What’s not to love about …” mould (provided journalists do their homework, do not misquote and take the trouble to check facts).

      • Sixer says:

        OT entirely (sorry, because you were being very interesting, guys).

        @ Janey – I saw Peter Mullan’s Neds last night for the first time. Loved it. Do you know, my junior school had a “shed” for the remedial class, which we all called the retard class, even though it was a few years on from Neds? Man, things have changed.

        @ Fanty (while I’m being OT) – first episode of Peaky Blinders was absolutely fantastic (aside from a little bit of accentitis) and if you ever get the chance to see the one-off Wipers Times, I just *know* you would love it.

      • Janey says:

        @curls – it says a lot about who he is and how he presents himself that we can discuss his charachter, politics, world views, etc – he’s not afraid to be himself. I also suspect he may be a tiny bit stubborn and that’s why bitchy batch comes out – he’s determined to be himself to the point of obstinacy.

        @sixer – Peter Mullan is amazing. I also loved Orphans. It’s more of the same, bleakly amusing drama, but he does it so well. There’s also the enjoyment of shouting “I’VE BEEN THERE” whenever a film is set in your home town.

  25. Vl says:

    Ginger hair is a ridiculously sensitive subject in UK.
    When my son, a gloriously ginger boy, was born in England, I joyfully proclaimed him ginger.
    (His hair at the time was hazard cone orange).
    To which the maternity ward nurses quickly responded with assurances that he was in fact Strawberry blonde and it was merely the sunlight causing the illusion of ginger.

    That was the first, but not last, time I encountered the British strange bias against ginger hair.

    Later on random strangers or child care personnel would point out that his hair colour wasn’t the dreaded “British ginger” but a cute shade and deciding that him being half-Scandinavian did this.
    It’s hair.
    It’s fucking ridiculous.

  26. betsy says:

    I was strawberry blonde until my early 20′s but now its got a lot darker.

    The director of The Imitation Game just tweeted

    Morten Tyldum ‏@mortentyldum

    End of Day 2. Tired, but so excited. Keira and Benedict have been amazing and killed it.”

    If its the scene where they first meet it will have been great fun. The film is quite funny in parts. Its very well balanced.

  27. moon says:

    I love how refreshingly himself he is in his interviews though, it’s like this guy doesn’t have a publicist.

  28. Old Enough says:

    There is a screen cap floating around from The Ends of the Earth that offers a tantalizing glimpse of said auburn pubes.