Benedict Cumberbatch got ‘all hench, as they say in Wales’ for ‘Strange’


Entertainment Weekly provided some new images for Doctor Strange, which comes out this fall. Just my opinion: it seems like the promotion around Doctor Strange is a bit different than the promotion around other Marvel movies. For one, there’s already an ongoing controversy about Tilda Swinton’s casting as the Ancient One, a role which by all accounts should have been played by a Tibetan man. It also feels like people aren’t quite sure what to make of Benedict Cumberbatch’s entrance into the Marvel world. We’ll see. This is what Bendy told EW about Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange:

“This man reaches the very bottom and then more. You think, How much more can this guy take? He’s broken, he gets up again, he’s broken — and that’s really what makes him a superhero. A lot of people have asked me, ‘What makes him a superhero?’ That’s really the answer I should have given. It’s not the Cloak of Levitation. It’s not the Eye of Agamotto. It’s about his staying power. It’s a marathon and not a sprint. The guy endures so much.”

[From EW]

Benedict also ended up chatting with The Sun a few days ago about his struggle to get beefy and ripped for Strange. Um…?? I saw the trailer, complete with shirtless Bendy. I think he looks nice, I think he looks strong, I think he looks really fit. But he’s not “ripped” like Chris Hemsworth or Chris Evans, you know? No one was really expecting him to look like Thor or Captain America. But Benedict thinks he had the hardest physical journey, and according to the Sun, he ate double-calories and he was weight lifting extensively. This is what Bendy says:

“He [Strange] goes through so much psychologically and physically, which I can testify to as an actor. Kevin Feige went ‘I don’t think we have put an actor through quite as much as this.’ I said, ‘I’ll wear that badge with pride.’ It was a tough shoot from that point of view. It was very, very physically demanding. Not just getting all hench, as they say in Wales, the buffness you need for the superhero stuff. But also just day-to-day fitness and the stamina to do 14-15 hour days with very little turnaround and very little sleep and a baby at home and all the rest of it. So I did go through quite a lot. No pain, no gain. But for the character, hopefully it’ll show.”

[From The Sun]

I had never heard of this “hench” thing but apparently it is legit British slang. I hope to hear more slang coming out of Bendy’s mouth in the months to come. I want to hear the words, “I’m a woke ass bae” coming from Bendy. Anyway, as I said… his body looks good in Strange, but I seriously doubt that his workouts were any harder than Hemsworth or Evans’. But I also believe Benedict when he talks about needing the stamina and energy to do the role. All of that with a little baby at home.

Meanwhile, Tilda Swinton is once again attempting some damage control around her Ancient One character. She gave another statement to EW, and this time she’s at least acknowledging that we need to have a larger conversation around representation in film – you can read her latest here.


Here are some photos of Benedict with The Hat of Fug at LAX a few days ago.



Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet, Entertainment Weekly.

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41 Responses to “Benedict Cumberbatch got ‘all hench, as they say in Wales’ for ‘Strange’”

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  1. Betti says:

    I was looking forward to this until the trailer, he’s quite camp in it. Not sure if it’s the over acting, the accent or the fact that he is NOT an action hero in any reality/fantasy.

    • Algernon says:

      Doctor Strange isn’t anyone’s idea of a hero, either, so I think it’s a good fit. Within the comics, he’s very powerful, but half the times the Avengers call him for help, he doesn’t show up. I don’t think Strange should be played by someone who seems like a hero, because the whole point of the character is that he’s the last guy you would expect to save the world.

      • PimmsCupInAPimpCup says:

        I’m happy to agree with you. Dr. Strange is indeed, strange. That’s part of the allure of the charactor.
        He’s like a heyoka, one foot in each world- this one, and the world beyond this, where at times, humans look like ants. His reasons for doing, or not doing something are due to his over-the-head view of human affairs.

        When I heard he was cast as Strange, I thought it a good fit. I’m fine with the dialect he chose. Strange is a Nebrasken, (Rocket Raccoon is Australian, but don’t tell Cooper that) and I appreciate BC going the extra mile. Strange being from the Midwest America has a lot to do with his eschewing his ego for a greater reality.

        As for his workout, some people just physically can’t go beyond a certain point due to genetics. Believe it or not, I’m not a fan of Cumberbatch, but He has a strong work ethic, which I appreciate.

    • Christianna says:

      His accent is… Strange.

      • Algernon says:

        I don’t know why they didn’t let him be British. It doesn’t matter for the character.

  2. Algernon says:

    Maybe getting in shape was hard for him, though. He’s older than the Chrises, and he doesn’t seem as naturally athletic as them, either. I’m sure their workouts/diets are brutal, but some people build muscle easier than others. A hard workout for Chris Hemsworth is probably impossible for mere mortals.

    • Esmom says:

      That’s what I was thinking. And some people just aren’t wired to get ripped, no matter what they do. My arms will never be insanely muscular no matter how much weight I lift, while my sister can do a few pushups and her arms will look like Madonna’s.

      • Felice. says:

        He’s naturally skinny. People with less fat tend to get toned faster but it’s much harder to build and maintain muscle because you have to eat more but your metabolism burn off those access calories before they can feed the muscle.

        He wore a muscle suit for Khan.

      • Mieke says:


        I haven’t heard about him wearing a muscle suit. I know Ricardo Montalbán was “accused”‘- I mean, really would it be bad? Khan is a supernaturally strong character, would be like wearing a wig if you ask me – of wearing one when he played Khan in 1982. Maybe you read about that?

      • Felice. says:

        It was in a recent book about how movies are made. Not sure if it was a costume or prop book.

        I’m trying to find it. If I can’t, I will retract.

      • hermia says:

        He looks weird like this, his body is not made for it. And the facial hair is off-putting. It’s a no for me. I’ll take mine skinny with curls, thanks.

      • Lynne says:

        It was Montalbán.

  3. Joanie says:

    I think Cumby is perfect in this role. I agree he looks great in the trailer…better than he’s looked in a long time. Some would say the little baby at home is debatable, though, LOL.

  4. Sixer says:

    Hench isn’t Welsh, particularly. Everyone says it, I think. The Sixlets and their little pals say it all the time, which is how I know it because it is yoof-speak and new-fangled slang. It just means beefed up.

    Poor Bendy – he can never get the non-U words quite right, can he? I think he should be made to stand at the front of the class and say, “Fair cop, guvnor,” fifty times in his best Ray Winstone voice.

    Question – which is worse/more funny? Getting the slang the plebs talk in very slightly wrong? Or deploying one’s univ vocab in every interview? Or are they equally excruciating?

    • lilacflowers says:

      His attempts to say anything in an American accent are the most excruciating.

    • Becky says:

      I haven’t heard it before either, I guess it’s like “swole” which I also heard recently.

      • RuddyZooKeeper says:

        Oh my gosh – SWOLE! I recently directed the word “young” at one of my kids when I noticed their tee shirt was way too small. They couldn’t understand why I had cracked myself up.

  5. pikawho? says:

    I’ve been told that I’m crazy for seeing this, but that beard makes him look so much like Riker from Star Trek: TNG to me.

  6. Sue says:

    He will be great in this role. End of discussion 😉

  7. Esmom says:

    I’ve never found him attractive but the darker hair/eyebrows look good. He gives me a young Dennis Quaid vibe.

    I’ve never heard “hench” before, I can’t wait to use it! 🙂

  8. kri says:

    he looks like Richard Chamberlain in his super getup. But, unabashedly, I love him. I know he’s Bendy, but I’m okay with it. But seriously…why didn’t they choose a Tibetan actor for The Ancient One?

  9. Kate says:

    Excited for this film beyond words. Dr. Strange’s story is one of my favorites in the Marvel canon.

    I’m ok with Ben doing it. He really does look like him…

  10. browniecakes says:

    Hope it’s a hit. Just saw Suicide Squad and am about to give up on comic book movies.

    • hermia says:

      It will probably be a hit, The thing is there are so many of these super hero films that even if they are hits they are soon forgotten when the next one comes out all of 5 minutes later.
      They need to give us a break, a long one possibly.
      I only watched Nolan’s Batman, the rest of them seems like silly stuff in comparison. Not gonna watch this. I have seen the trailer and it reminds me too much of Inception/Matrix. These effects have been done to death, time to come up with new ideas. I guess if they hired decent directors, they would get better products.

  11. Moon says:

    Give me a break. She’s playing a ‘Celtic monk’ whatever that’s supposed to mean, since the celts had Druids and the Christians who wiped them out had monks – but they’re dressed in Asian costumes in an Asian looking temple. Lame excuse marvel.

    • Amberica says:

      I think the character as written is basically a stereotype, and they didn’t want to be crucified for that and may have over corrected. They did the same thing with The Mandarin in Iron Man 3.

  12. EscapedConvent says:

    Oh, the Hat. This must be his new favorite hat. It’s an especially silly one. It is a UFO, and it was just roaming the countryside until it saw his weird-shaped head and decided to land.👽

    But I’m still waiting for him to wear a winsome straw boater with ribbons.

  13. Silly me says:

    Oh, his endless moaning just annoys me. Forever suffering for his art. Long hours, little sleep, demanding work outs. Give me a break, Mr millionaire. Think of nurses and care workers, people on construction sites! He wouldn’t last a day in any of these jobs.

    • hermia says:

      He moaned about Hamlet too. If he had to do Punchdrunk immersive theatre, with all the running around in the dark, up and down stairs, etc he wouldn’t last a night, let alone being a nurse or a care worker. He’s a precious snowflake, isn’t he our Ben? 🙂

      • Christianna says:

        Oh, give him a break! I’d rather listen to him “moan” about his work than shoehorn his fakeass personal life any day.

      • Lynne says:

        He sounds like every actor in these big movies who’s asked about their physical role prep, so not seeing the big deal here. His reply is standard.

        The training has gotten a little OTT in the industry though. Radical, seesaw body changes are really unhealthy.

      • hermia says:

        Evidently, you have not heard him moan about Hamlet last year: the loss of weight, how he was always hungry, the long hours with a baby at home. And what about the news of how he refused the role of Bond because he’s tired of all the attention he gets from fans???? Like: why did you take a Marvel role, if you don’t want attention, mate? He likes to whinge, that’s a fact.

      • Lynne says:

        I looked up the Bond thing, but it just looks like tabloid garbage? Couldn’t find any remotely legitimate source connected to it.

        Again, he sounds like every other actor. They don’t consider their jobs jokes even thought some people do. They all talk about physical (and sometimes mental, ie Day-Lewis) role demands. It’s also considered humanizing and often on interviewer’s question lists.

    • Timbuktu says:

      But, I mean… they asked! People like to know these kinds of tidbits about films they like. It’s the first time I hear this, and it was prompted by a journalist. If BC went around moaning that this was too hard to everyone who’d listen – I’d also advocate a wake up call, but this doesn’t bother me.

    • Christianna says:

      @hermia: That Bond article is full of crap. Either someone planted it to turn his fans against him, or someone wanted him to look like he was still the in demand bankable actor he was before he turned sour. You really expect me to believe a guy who cast himself in Rogue Male would turn own 007? Please.

      • hermia says:

        I wonder why his people or the Bond people didn’t deny this though. You’d expect Barbara Broccoli to be a bit annoyed by news that an actor was allegedly courted by her for months and rejected the role on such flimsy pretexts.

      • j says:

        im late but it’s a popular misconception that pr will address everything. there’s only so many hours in the day and sometimes calling out something totally false draws more attention to it, so the end result is actually more ppl believing it. if it’s from a pub with no wide traction and doesn’t get serious play in the mainstream, it’s smarter to ignore it..

        the possible exception would be if it were seriously bad, like sexual assault allegations