28 | squaremeal.co.uk
did have was thrown at their only son
- 'a hyperactive nightmare' as a child.
Educated at a prep school in East
Grinstead, his headmaster there
suggested his parents move him on
to Harrow, which 'suited me down to
the ground' and helped cultivate those
impeccable manners of his. Along with
activities such as paragliding, abseiling
and oil painting, he started acting in earnest - putting an end to his
brief irtation with the idea of becoming a barrister.
From Harrow, he hot-footed it to Manchester - chosen for its
edginess - and it was here, in a production of David Mamet's
Glengarry Glen Ross, that his father was left dumbstruck, saying,
'You're better now than I've ever been.' Cumberbatch jokingly
�AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY�:
'Benedict, I hadn't ever met before. He was such
a gift to the lm… He plays someone completely
di¡erent from all the other performances we've
seen. He's very tender, wounded and bruised
and tentative. And he t into this Oklahoma
family e¡ortlessly. I was surprised
to learn that he was British!'
�SHERLOCK, THE HOBBIT�:
'The rst time we read with each other
[on Sherlock], something clicked and it
just worked. I think that really helped.
It made us like the other one.'
The Cumber Collective:
CO�STARS ON CUMBERBATCH
ALICE EVE �STARTER FOR 10,
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS�:
'He's having a moment, he really is.
He's an incredibly committed actor;
his work is rst and foremost in his
life. So he deserves it.'
�THE FIFTH ESTATE�:
'He's a very, very smart young
man. He's political and he's
got a lot to say.'
calls it his 'Gillette Moment', but deep down, he was truly touched.
'That was a really huge thing for him to say.' A year at the London
Academy of Music and Dramatic Art completed his drama studies.
For a while he toyed with being Benedict Carlton, like his father's
stage name, but then took the family moniker (mildly controversial,
given revelations that Cumberbatch's own Bristol-born ancestors
founded their family fortunes on a sugar plantation in Barbados and
owned slaves - a topic the actor has dealt with twice, as abolitionist
William Pitt the Younger in
Amazing Grace and, more
recently, in Steve McQueen's
Oscar-winner 12 Years a Slave).
Currently prepping to play
famed explorer Colonel Percival
Fawcett in The Lost City of Z, it
seems as if nothing can stop him
now. 'The pressure changes and
the level of exposure changes,'
he says, 'but I'm not nervous of it
drying up. I've always had an eye on longevity. I've got loads more
goals to achieve; it's not like I've completely conquered the whole
thing.' He smiles, as a black Mercedes pulls up outside to ferry him
away. 'That's a lifetime's objective, not an overnight thing.'
Sherlock - Complete Series 3 is out now on DVD and Blu-ray.
Smiles for Julianne Nicholson in August: Osage County
�STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS�:
'I couldn't get over his name. I was like,
"My God, I want to meet your parents!
Benedict Cumberbatch! Were they ghting
the day they named you?" Fuck, man,
you can't even pull a nickname
from that - just Benny.'
'I'VE ALWAYS HAD AN EYE ON LONGEVITY.
I'VE GOT LOADS MORE GOALS TO
ACHIEVE; IT'S NOT LIKE I'VE COMPLETELY
CONQUERED THE WHOLE THING'
PHOTOS: KOBAL COLLECTION, REX FEATURES