Thursday, July 19, 2012

36 for 36: Happy Birthday, Benedict Cumberbatch!

July 19, 1976. Special day. Special because Benedict Cumberbatch came into this world. I am particularly grateful for this one incredible actor.

So, for his birthday, I give you, 36 things I appreciate about Mr. Benedict Cumberbatch:

1. Sherlock.
I will never stop being grateful for the entirety of this show--but especially the dynamic Benedict brought to life through his performance.

2. How self-deprecating he is

3. His impersonations

[just one example :]

4. Gratefulness - He is continually expressing gratefulness for the roles he's been given, the praise he's received--He is still genuinely shocked when other people appreciate his work

5. His relationship with his parents - Benedict is the only son of actors Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham (still married)
[Wanda and Benedict - via]
It was a performance of Glengarry Glen Ross

...that he broke his father’s heart with pride. “After the show he told me I was a better actor than he had ever been or would ever be. He was tearing up as he was saying it.” He has continued to be “terribly proud and utterly selfless”, revelling in his son’s success. When Hawking was well reviewed in The Sunday Times his father framed the drawing that accompanied the piece as a 28th birthday present. “Mum gets a bit emotional on first nights,” he says, “but Dad... he started to weep at the first night of After the Dance when he was telling me how proud he was. I didn’t know what to do. I just held onto him. I said, ‘You’re not crying out of relief that I got through it, are you?’ And he said, ‘No, you stupid boy. I’m crying because you were so wonderful.’

6. The way he so badly wants to be a dad

When asked his greatest disappointment, he responded: "Not being a dad by age 32."

7. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. 

[While filming, Gary Oldman had to swim in a freezing cold lake. Cumberbatch offered to jump in first... verifying the water was, indeed, freezing.]

8. Hair - in a variety of styles

9. He looks good in period clothing

10. His funny faces

11. Amazing Grace.
When I first saw this I had no idea who he was, nevertheless it was my introduction.

12. Full name: Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch [Benedict is his, but the rest of the name is his dad's]

Benedict means "one spoken well of" and Cumberbatch comes from a Welsh word for "one who dwells in a wooded glen." haha

13. That his first stage role was as Tatiana, Queen of the Fairies in Midsummer Night's Dream.
He went to an all boys boarding school, okay? Haha... what I'd give to see that.

14. Voice.
It's been described as "a jaguar hiding in a cello..." ummm, yes =)

[Now, Benedict, will you please stop smoking so you and your voice will last longer??]

15. The Reichenbach Tear!

16. That he rejects celebrity.
His life isn't all out there for the public. As much as I wish I could follow his every move (more easily, anyway), I'm grateful he doesn't have a twitter or anything. It keeps him more mysterious.

17. That he gives everything to a role. I mean, the dude studied Komodo-dragons at the London Zoo to prepare for his role as Smaug.

18. His favorite poem is "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats. [I think the reason he lives in Hampstead is at least partly due to Keat's house there]

19. That--though he impersonates them--he's always respectful to Directors.
In interviews it's always Mr. Spielberg, Mr. Abraams.

20. That he's so awfully gangly.

21. That he really does look like an otter

22. That he's great on stage as well as screen. 
Three BAFTA nominations and an Olivier award on the shelf--not to mention a host of other nods??
23. Frankenstein. Brilliant and chilling in both roles.

24. His amazing displays of strength.
He's portrayed multiple characters who's muscles fail in some way (Frankenstein, Hawking, etc.) and he has such incredible command over those gangly limbs!
25. His buddies

[Tom Hardy - costar in both Stuart: a Life Backwards and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy]
[Jonny Lee Miller - co-star, and co-Olivier Winner, in Frankenstein]

[Martin Freeman - Sherlock, The Hobbit, need I say more?]

[Tom Hiddleston - War Horse]

[James McAvoy - Starter for 10 and Atonement]

26. His handling of the car-jacking situation
While filming To the Ends of the Earth (2005) in South Africa, Cumberbatch, along with some friends, were car-jacked. He was tied up, beat, and had a gun held to his head (you can read more details here). But he left that night not with bitterness or fear, just an intense desire to live. In one interview: "It’s made me want to live a life slightly less ordinary."

27. That he loves London and Great Britain so much =)

28. He's complained of the shape of his head, comparing it to Sid the Sloth's

29. The crow's-feet, because it means he's smiled so often in his life...

30. That even though it terrified him, he was willing to dare the runway for his favorite designer, Spencer Hart

31. He's still a fanboy

32. The suspenders - he openly admits his interest in fashion is relatively new... and he blames it on Martin Freeman. "There's a man who knows his threads," he told one interviewer

33. His thoughtfulness - in an interview with the guardian, he offered to share a tea-bag with the journalist while sounding off on the subject with everything from "tea ceremonies to post-colonial theory..." Moreover, he spent his gap year teaching English in Nepal, contemplating his decision to pursue acting.

34. Humor - if it isn't obvious through other things posted, the bloke is hilarious! He's constantly cracking jokes about himself, his colleagues, impersonating people, dancing, etc... he just enjoys life and enjoys making other people laugh.

35. Intelligence - a "public school" education, a passion for research, and an expansive vocabulary all contribute to his knowledgeable approach to roles and interviews

36. Just him =)

Benedict, 35 was a fabulous year, but I'm hoping 36 is even better [of course an Emmy nomination isn't a bad way to start]! Here's to another fantastic year - Happy Birthday!