Schauspieler Benedict Cumberbatch ist der gefragteste Brite in Hollywood. Im Interview spricht er über seine hohen Wangenknochen,…
So, I reblogged someone else’s post of some pics from this article but I did a translation so I thought I’d post that again on my own (mostly just because people are still reblogging this and asking for translations!) It’s a good article, despite the interviewer’s opinion that Benedict is being a bit rude by not standing at the beginning. :P Feel free to argue with me (or correct me on) any of my wordings.
A luxury hotel in Berlin. At the revolving door, many girls are waiting for Orlando Bloom, who plays Legolas in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. They have apparently not realized that Benedict Cumberbatch is among the most sought-after Brits in Hollywood. His female fans worship him not only for his role as the arrogant, brilliant Sherlock Holmes and call themselves “Cumberbitches”. The British Times Magazine calls him the best actor of his generation, an A-list star in America. He has become truly bankable: a name that can sell tickets to a target audience of movie-goers.
Seated on a Rococo-style chair in a dark bespoke suit is Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch. White-flowered shirt, gleaming leather shoes, a touch of Guerlain Vetiver in the air. His notable features are irritatingly impressive; he has too much of everything: head, cheeks, forehead, eyebrows, lips. Combined with wide-set blue-green eyes, which have their own blog dedicated to them: “The Eyes of Benedict Cumberbatch”. He gives the impression of a British gentlemen but slightly lacking in gentlemanly airs: he types on his smartphone, takes a sip of pop directly from the bottle, and stays seated for the welcome.
Mr. Cumberbatch, why so limp?
To be specific, I’m fighting a hangover of sorts, generally against end-of-year fatigue. Yesterday was just too long. At the Hobbit premiere I met up with my colleague and mate Martin Freeman. He played Bilbo and in Sherlock, my assistant Dr. Watson.
That’s the series that made you a star, first for three years in Great Britain and then unbelievably quickly in America, right?
You could definitely say that.
How can you explain that?
With the never-ending fascination with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective? And that the producers of the series have modernized him and brought him into the present.
And the tasteful dark-grey woollen coat which Sherlock wears has had a waiting list since the first episode…
Yeah, Sherlock not only clever, he also has style. And wears British labels. I’ve put this on the agenda of Hollywood directors. The Americans are crazy about the series, according to their own. But the people in the industry naturally keep an eye on the British market anyway. I also have Sherlock to thank for my role in Steven Spielberg’s War House. After that it was a rotation. I find it all a bit crazy myself, how much I work I’ve had in the last three years.
Because Cumberbatch learns his lines as quickly as he speaks; this could perhaps explain his workload. The thirty-seven-year-old was in the epic Star Trek film this year as the villain Khan, also as the white-haired and Australian-accented Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate, in the slavery drama Twelve Years a Slave wherein he played a plantation owner, and coming next he will be seen in August: Osage County alongside Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts. All very different roles, all very precisely played. Although Cumberbatch has such striking features, he disappears behind his characters. In The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug, which comes out on Thursday, he disappears completely, unfortunately, as the character of the dragon is a CGI creation. Those who would like to experience Cumberbatch’s deep-voiced madness should see the film in the original version [note: as opposed to dubbed German-language versions, which are popular in Germany].
Now you’re doing the press junket for a dragon. What do you find the hardest about that?
It’s not hard at all, for multiple reasons. The Hobbit was the first book that my father read to me aloud. It gives me a great sense of nostalgia. When I was invited to choose a character to play, it was completely clear which role I wanted to play. It didn’t really matter, I just wanted to be there.
With your features, you would have made a good elf, wouldn’t you say?
First come, first serve. The roles had already been cast. Peter Jackson also asked me if I would like to voice the dragon. A speaking-only role seemed a little too small, also more suitable for an older actor who can do a deeper voice. It was my idea then to do the voice for the dragon Smaug and also create him through motion capture.
This Smaug is really a monster, who lives in a mountain on a hoard of gold. How does one play that, if I may ask?
I didn’t travel to the shooting location, just a studio in Los Angeles. I stood there, surrounded by cameras, in a clingy, reflective jumpsuit and played a giant lizard.
Haha. And was that fun?
Yes, in a specific way you’re part of a bigger thing. All characters are metaphors of human characters. I had never tried motion capture work, and found Andy Serkis as Gollum in Lord of the Rings fantastic and wanted to give that a try.
Your claim to fame is your portrayals of real personalities: Stephen Hawking, Van Gogh, Julian Assange…
Yes, they are particularly interesting because they’re such complex characters, but as an actor you’re always exposed to the direct comparisons.
Your most notorious feature is your high cheekbones, no?
Oh dear, please don’t reduce me to that. That would be a bit too easy, wouldn’t it? I only know that I have a big face, which can obviously have a big effect on camera.
Your parents are both actors. That must please them, you having become one as well, no?
Initially, no. My parents love their profession, but know very well the pros and cons of it. The constant insecurity, when the next job is coming, and the dependence on staying in the good will of directors and producers. Acting is the opposite of stability, and they wanted to protect me against that.
I’m going to assume that your parents were quite successful: you grew up in Chelsea and went to private boarding schools…
My parents worked very hard for my privileged education. They both had long, interesting careers on television and in the theatre. No more, but no less. I am an only child, and it was important to them that I go to a good school. My family is not posh, they’re middle class. For a long time it looked like I was going to become a lawyer.
I kept on doing theatre alongside my law studies. First it was only a hobby, not a career. In Amadeus I played the evil opponent Salieri. After the performance my father told me that I would be better than he ever was. And that I could have a wonderful career as an actor. I had his blessing. Looking back, he was the one who set the path in place, in terms of my not having become a lawyer but looked for a drama school instead.
What’s the best thing was that your parents gave you along the way?
Unconditional love, I was spoiled hopelessly with it. Seriously, just having my parents as models, I understood acting as a profession, not just as red carpet events. Otherwise, the business has changed. Back then you had to work your way up to star status over the years; today people get talked up quickly and can be replaced just as quickly. I have immense respect for people like Kingsley, Mirren, Hopkins, the ones who can look back on decades of good work.
Though Cumberbatch has just spoken warmly, he unfortunately had to leave for the airport: “Planes to catch, people to meet.” Success demands constant movement. From the rapid-fire mouth comes “thank you, thank you, thank you.” In parting, he rises from the Rococo-style chair. It’s never too late to be a gentleman.