Not only did Cumberbatch have to follow an animal act, but Letterman, who began by referring to Star Trek as Star Wars, asked his guest—a veteran of twenty movies, including Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and War Horse—if he was new to major motion pictures. (The actor, being the polite, Harrow-educated Brit that he is, jumped in to save his host: “This major? Yes!”) I tell Cumberbatch that, given Letterman’s cluelessness, I was surprised there weren’t the usual efforts to wring a laugh from his name.
“Well, since he couldn’t even say it,” says the actor. “At one point, before I came on, he announced me as ‘Benedict Cumber… ,’ and his voice sort of trailed off. My friends said, ‘What the fuck was that? It was like his batteries ran out.’ But that’s the sort of thing that’s been happening here, where I’m not as well known,” he continues. “It’s strange to be 36 and still explaining the weirdness of my name.”
Taken by photographer Alison Jackson in 2008. Her quote: ‘I was shooting Benedict Cumberbatch the star of Atonement at the bar in the Ivy Club. We had this idea that he should pose naked on a bar stool with just a copy of the Financial Times. He didn’t think twice about doing it. He just stripped everything off in the club. There were other people around but no one gave him a second glance.’ Wow.
Great to hear the story behind this pic. It’s his natural authority… People probably just think: “Okay, he gets naked. He will have good reason.”
I’ve read that note before but it’s always interesting to see it again.
I bet he still has his undies on though :p
I love this picture!
It also always reminds me of the fact that he wouldn’t audition for the film of the Ian McEwan novel The Cement Garden’ while he was at Harrow because he didn’t want to take his clothes off.
‘I was really prudish at that age and thought, “F*** it, I don’t want to take my clothes off.” I was terrified, I didn’t want anyone seeing what I looked like,’ he says. ‘So I didn’t audition.’
Nice to see he got over that particular hang-up!
Original Telegraph interview here:
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!!
The best bits from various “Star Trek Into Darkness” reviews (i.e., the parts about Benedict):
Most of the speculation surrounding “Star Trek Into Darkness” centers on Benedict Cumberbatch’s mysterious bad guy John Harrison, who has somewhat preternatural abilities and a wild flop of hair that seems to become more unhinged the angrier he becomes. Cumberbatch will also be the thing that most people talk about walking out of “Star Trek Into Darkness” –- he’s that good. Cumberbatch’s Harrison is the kind of rich, commanding, star-making performance that comes all too infrequently (especially in a jumbo-sized studio blockbuster).
The ridiculously deep-voiced Benedict Cumberbatch delivers a near-campy but effective performance as that rogue officer who goes by the name of John Harrison. At first he seems like an off-the-rack sci-fi villain, but the more we see of this guy, the more interesting he becomes.
— Richard Roeper
Benedict Cumberbatch (the BBC’s “Sherlock”) sneers Britishly as genetically engineered terrorist John Harrison, and at first he cuts an impressively ruthless figure. But Harrison, too, is a ghost from “Star Trek” past. When his true identity is revealed — I’ll pretend you haven’t Googled this — it’s less a stunner than a letdown. It’s also a reminder of how breezy this “Trek” feels compared with the grand, operatic, emotionally cathartic originals.
— Rafer Guzman, Newsday
As Harrison, Cumberbatch is a huge improvement over Eric Bana’s Nero, the gale-force banshee villain of 2009’s “Star Trek.” Harrison is a daunting foe, possessing icy intellect, superhuman physical prowess and a psychologist’s eye for his adversaries’ weak spots, as well as a menacing, theatrically trained baritone. He taunts Kirk with his glacial disdain until the hothead snaps.
— Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune
The big find here is Cumberbatch, who joins Ricardo Montalban, Christopher Plummer and Alice Krige in a fairly limited roster of great “Trek” villains. With his rumbling voice and stony stare, the star of Britain’s detective update “Sherlock” is fearsome and relentless, a one-man army who truly seems like more than a match for poor Enterprise, all on his own.
— David Germain, AP
” … the introduction of a formidable adversary (Benedict Cumberbatch as the terror-monger with the plummy English vowel sounds) …”
“Postscript: Cumberbatch’s way with … a precise … yet unexpected … pause rivals that of Alan Rickman in the “Harry Potter” series. There is no higher compliment in the pause department. Those pauses, when experienced in the Imax screen format, really are pips.”
— Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
Harrison isn’t some ordinary raving lunatic, as Captain Kirk quickly learns. No, the character, played by the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch, is an oasis of calm. His mouth may curl in contempt with every word, but the rest of him is in perfect control, and his stillness says more about how dangerous he is than any of Nero’s rantings. But James T. Kirk is equally capable…that is, until he isn’t.
— Carol Pinchefsky, Forbes contributor
Rising star Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s “Sherlock”) is perfectly cast as the enigmatic John Harrison. Cumberbatch gives a chilling, biting performance as the supremely intelligent and powerful villain, a wonderful contrast to the impetuous wild-child Kirk. The actor lets the timbre of his voice and his cold, icy stare do most of the work, which is eerily effective.
— Justin Craig, FoxNews.com
Cumberbatch, meanwhile, makes for one of the best blockbuster villains in recent memory. While baby-faced in profile, Harrison is hawkishly fierce when coming at Kirk straight-on. He’s m
— Joe Neumaier, NY Daily News
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/star-trek-darkness-movie-review-article-1.1343071#ixzz2TIVhnB8r
Benedict Cumberbatch plays the baddie, a rogue Starfleet officer called John Harrison. ‘John Harrison’? Surely a Star Trek villain deserves a more outlandish name than that – like, say, ‘Benedict Cumberbatch’.
So what is there to like? Well, Pine and Quinto, and the first half-hour, and of course Cumberbatch, whose cool, bassoony baritone has seldom been put to better use than on lines like: “You can’t even break a rule, Mr Spock. How could you be expected to break bones?”
— Robbie Collin, The Telegraph (UK)
What are you wearing, Benedict?: Continuing our celebration of having 6000 FOLLOWERS HECK YES, I’ve...
Continuing our celebration of having 6000 FOLLOWERS HECK YES, I’ve compiled some of the best quotes about our favorite ‘Batch: Benedict Cumberbatch :-)
“He’s sweet and generous in an almost childlike way. He’s very easy to screw over. I could take advantage of him playing cards. Actually, I…