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Cumberbatch has arrived looking ultra-casual - white T-shirt, black
shorts, ip-ops and a natty navy cap. He has cup-sized headphones
around his neck, and bands on his wrist.
Standing tall at 6ft, he's lean - partly because he's been in training
to play Enigma code-cracker (and
marathon runner) Alan Turing in
forthcoming movie The Imitation
Game. But there's something otherworldly
about him too, courtesy of
what he calls his 'long face'.
With his cobalt-blue eyes, angular
cheekbones and retroussé nose, his
striking and unusual appearance is
enough to stop trac.
'Benedict is exotic and
extraordinary,' says Sherlock's writer/producer Steven Mo¡at. 'He's
always going to be cast as someone odd and strange and di¡erent…
because he's got an amazing voice and an extraordinary face. He's
never going to be cast as ordinary. No doubt he could play it but
you'd still have to cover up the cheekbones.'
Or maybe it's just actor-superstition lurking in his psyche - an
understandable reaction to the remarkable rise he's been on ever
since. Films for such Hollywood titans as Steven Spielberg (War Horse),
JJ Abrams (Star Trek Into Darkness) and Peter Jackson (The Hobbit)
jostle for space on his CV with acclaimed theatre performances
and a career-dening role on television- as Sherlock Holmes.
When The Empty Hearse, the rst episode of series three of the
BBC's Sherlock aired on New Year's Day this year, over 10 million
people tuned in to see how Cumberbatch's Holmes had survived
a fall from the roof of St Bartholomew's Hospital at the end of the
previous season. Twitter went into meltdown, with some 260,000
tweets per hour during the broadcast.
Last year, the illustrious TIME Magazine put him on the cover -
a spot usually reserved for politicians, presidents and captains of
industry. This year, he presented at the Oscars, a major industry
accolade - where he also gained maximum respect for hilariously
photo-bombing U2 singer Bono on the red carpet. Yet stirred
in with this wicked sense of humour, his innate intelligence and
erudite manner, there's something
quite humble about Cumberbatch,
a dignied sort who you won't nd
drunkenly falling out of clubs. 'I'm very
grateful,' he says, 'for the opportunities
to do di¡erent things, to test my
mettle in di¡erent arenas, and with
di¡erent types of characters.'
We're sitting in a rather gloomy
basement room of London's Charlotte
Street Hotel. No windows, just oralpatterned
walls closing in on us both. There's an almost inaudible
buzzing sound that catches 37-year-old Cumberbatch's attention,
causing him to look towards the light in the ceiling. 'Is that getting
louder or is it just me?' he says. 'It's a bulb that's going to blow.' If you
thought playing Sherlock Holmes hadn't a¡ected him, think again.
'WE WERE CONFIDENT GOING INTO IT
�SHERLOCK� THAT IT WAS GOING TO
BE SOMETHING GOOD, BUT NOTHING
LIKE AS BIG AS IT'S BEEN'
Alongside Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
With Sherlock co-star
Playing Major Jamie Stewart in War Horse
PHOTOS: HARTSWOOD FILMS, KOBAL COLLECTION