Celebatchy Log: Day 16
It has been over two weeks since Benedict Cumberbatch announced his engagement to his girlfriend of less than six months, Sophie Hunter. The Starship Celebatchy is still on lockdown, dealing with the fallout. But I am fine. All is well. It occurred to me as we reach the pre-Thanksgiving gossip slowdown that the past two weeks would have been super-boring for celebrity gossip without our Otter King. Which is why I continue to write about the many interviews Otterbatch has given in the past week – there is literally nothing else to write about. So with that in mind, you can read Benedict’s full Wall Street Journal interview here. Some highlights:
As Richard III, the costume designers are hiding the “hunchback”: “We figured there would be a certain amount of disguise going on in order for him to function as a luminary in the court and to be a figure of power… When you start talking about the entitlement that his family, the Plantagenets, are heir to—this beautiful, Adonis, athletic family, this sort of English Kennedy family—Richard is this dark embarrassment in the corner that everyone wants to quietly ignore or patronize, this disabled child. Being an outsider festers, and fosters the sociopathic, the anger and sense of entitlement to seize the crown.”
He tried to replicate & study Alan Turing’s drawings: “In a way it’s an actor’s trick—how he holds himself, his body, his pen, what sounds are distracting to him. For all the extraordinarily complex ideas and mathematics and science, this was a man who was incredibly sensitive to his environment. It could be as simple as a particular use of language.”
Breaking down in one of Turing’s last scenes: “It had to be contained, the emotion I felt in the last scenes, because it was near the end of the schedule of shooting. I couldn’t control my grief, and I realized it wasn’t me in the role being upset as Turing. It was me outside of the role grieving for the loss of this extraordinary man that I had this great sympathy for.”
Sherlock versus Turing: “People may think, ‘Oh, he’s playing another difficult genius,’ but they’re very different. Sherlock is an extrovert, who uses people. He’s asexual and sociopathic. Alan is just slightly awkward, he’s more guileless in his behavior.”
On Sherlock: “He’s iconic. He’s a man of the digital age. He’s incredibly intelligent. The asexuality is interesting. He’s unobtainable and that drives people kind of crazy. I think you can take ownership of someone who’s not a predatory heterosexual, as a lot of heroes can be, whether it’s a kind of Bond character or what else. He’s not a threat and that I think makes him a safe fascination you can own in a fan world, because in reality it would be very messy and very different.”
He almost went by Benedict Carlton: “I was going to be Benedict Carlton,” Mr. Cumberbatch said. He wasn’t getting work, and when his agents suggested using his catchier original name, he resisted. “I said, ‘It sounds a bit like a fart in the bath. It’s clumsy. Dad doesn’t use it.’” The agents argued that people would remember it, if only to wonder, Cumber-what? “When people started suggesting I’d made it up, I was like, ‘Well thank you for crediting me with that much imagination. I don’t think I could possibly make up a name as stupid as the one I was born with.’”
Benedict’s “moment”: “I’ve got so much that’s fortunate going on in my life right now,” he says, referring to his recent engagement to Sophie Hunter, a theater director. “I was very happy in this world as a working actor before any furor kicked off and I will continue to be that person. The work is wonderful and I’m in it for the long game. People say, ‘This is your moment.’ Well, I hate to say it, but I don’t believe in moments. I don’t believe in one-offs. I believe in something continuing and continuing, and I want to be doing this job for the next 50 years if I live that long.”
Showing that I can still learn new things about Lord Otter, I totally didn’t know that he actually did use the stage name “Carlton” for a time early in his career. That was a smart decision, to go back to his real last name. Would a Cumberbatch by any other name smell as sweet/ottery? His funky, ridiculous, painfully-English name is part of his charm. I’m not sure he would be the internet’s boyfriend if he was Benedict Carlton.
Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet.