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Benedict Cumberbatch on Sherlock, Star Trek 2 and Elementary

Benedict Cumberbatch has been chatting about his recent screen roles (though he’s still giving nothing away on a certain series finale)…

This story contains a spoiler for episode 2.3 of Sherlock, The Reichenbach Fall.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s recent chat with Shortlist was as full and frank an interview as can be expected from a man contractually obliged to keep secret everything we really want to know.

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Though Cumberbatch wouldn’t be drawn on the identity of his Star Trek 2 villain, or exactly how Sherlock survived a rather convincing looking suicide in The Reichenbach Fall, he did reveal this: “I think David Tennant has a hat with bits of hair stuck on it”. Read on to find out more…

On the ending to The Reichenbach Fall:

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The level of obsession with it was nuts. When I read that in the script I got the biggest kick of my life. I remember ringing Martin and going, “Oh my f*cking God. Have you read this?

On whether Sherlock’s homeless network was involved in the deception:

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Yes, all the homeless people in London caught me [laughs]. They formed a human mattress and it was lovely. It was like getting the bumps on your birthday, I didn’t feel a thing. Seriously though, I did that jump. I was on a wire and went off the edge of the building. I was jumping off about three metres into a bunch of cardboard boxes with only a railing separating me from the real drop. We did it about two or three times in the rain with people filming opposite, and it was f*cking amazing.

On Sherlock series 3:

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…we’ve had a couple of meetings but I don’t think we’re filming until January. I need to have some more talks with [creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss] and tease them about the fact that I do have a career outside of Sherlock now, so they’d better f*cking write something.

On his much-guarded villainous role in Star Trek 2:

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I’ll tell you this, it’s iconic and it’s exciting. I’m bored of denying that it’s Khan now, because people keep saying it.

It’s a great part and it’s really well written. I enjoyed the fights and the stunts, there’s lots of that and it really is proper action movie territory […] I know it’s such a well-trodden, clichéd path, ‘Brit actor plays baddie in Hollywood’, but I channelled all of that and just really enjoyed it.

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On pal Jonny Lee Miller making US modern Sherlock Holmes series, Elementary:

Jonny asked me if I was all right with him doing it. I said, ‘What are the similarities?’ And he went, ‘Well it’s modern…’ I went, ‘Oh.’ Then he said, ‘Lucy Liu’s going to play Joan Watson…’ And I went, ‘Oh.’

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I got hold of the pilot script just to check it out. I don’t know, we’ll see. I think there’s room for us both to coexist. I don’t feel threatened by it and I wish him the best, which is as diplomatic as I can be.

It’s very odd. I did say, ‘Well, I’d prefer you didn’t do it but you’ve got a kid to feed, a nice house in LA and a wife to keep in good clothes.’ When you get used to a certain standard of living and they waft a pay cheque at you, what are you going to do? I think Jonny was like, ‘Mate, I’ve got the f*cking mountain to climb here, you’ve got nothing to fear.’ I wish him the best of luck, but I’m a bit cynical about why they’ve chosen to do it and why they cast him.

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On being recognised in public:

If I’m wearing a shirt and a suit I look very Sherlock and highly recognisable, but I try not to consciously downgrade my look. Having said that, as much as I try to resist them, hoodies and baseball caps work a treat. But the only cap I’ve got that fits my weird head has War Horse on it [laughs].

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[…] I think David Tennant has a hat with bits of hair stuck on it. That’s ridiculous, but it does show how odd it can be. People think we just walk from chauffeur driven cars to red carpets and basically have people wiping our arses for us, but sometimes you need to do normal things. So it’s a bit weird when people see you in the frozen pea section and start flipping out.

So there you have it, a surprisingly swear-y Cumberbatch, admitting slight cynicism at the way CBS has gone about making Elementary, and a wish to buy frozen peas unperturbed. Read the full interview at Shortlist, here.

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