Tuesday, 31 January 2012
Monday, 30 January 2012
Thursday, 26 January 2012
Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Tuesday, 24 January 2012
Best Actor for Benedict Cumberbatch
The winners of the 2011 Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards have been announced in London, according to Whatsonstage.com
The National Theatre’s production of Richard Bean’s One Man, Two Guvnors, which will play Broadway this spring, was named Best Play; London Road was awarded Best Musical, and Mike Leigh was named Best Director for Grief.
Benedict Cumberbatch won Best Actor for Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein;Sheridan Smith won Best Actress for Flare Path, and Tony Award winner Eddie Redmayne was honored for Best Shakespearean Performance for Richard II
Monday, 23 January 2012
From the ASIB DVD Commentary
Benedict: The other comic fall was when I'd overstepped my sheet's limit and just fell...
Moffat: He fell like a tree! Because he couldn't move his arms, he couldn't move his legs, he just fell!
Benedict: I was dedicated to the moment.
Lara: Do I dare ask what broke your fall?
Benedict: Uhh.. the carpet.
Moffat: The thing is it was terrible! He falls over, obviously quite painfully, but because it is SO FUNNY everyone just laughs! You hear him go HHHUUNKK onto the floor and then there's Martin going HUMP!
Friday, 20 January 2012
The Benedict Cumberbatch band wagonRosamund Urwin
20 Jan 2012
The passing of four years has fuzzed my memory slightly, but we later saw him in the Royal Court's bar, either that night or when we were watching another play. He was with friends, and we debated going over to congratulate him on his performance but deemed it "too stalkery". How we rue the day. She and I were two of the original Cumberbitches, in what is now a nation of Cumberbitches.
In September 2007, I took my best friend to see Ionesco's Rhinoceros at the Royal Court. We were both instantly struck by the man playing the protagonist, Berenger. "Hmmm," she said, scanning the script-cum-programme in the interval. "I think this guy needs a new stage name - it'll never catch on. Ben-er-dict Cum-ber-batch."
Technically, even we had jumped on the Benny C bandwagon a little late. Three years earlier, his role as a young Stephen Hawking - a beautiful portrayal of an incredible mind trapped in a disintegrating body - had won him a Golden Nymph award. On top of the regular TV rounds (Heartbeat - twice), this Harrow-educated son of two professional actors, who studied drama at Manchester before completing his training at Lamda, also played Pitt the Younger in the anti-slavery film, Amazing Grace.
But if this ascent has been steady, it is in 2012 that the 35-year-old will be propelled into the celluloid super league - and cement his position as the small screen's most impressive star.
Less than a day into the new year, the fantastic foursome of Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss had already given the BBC television that its rivals will spend the whole year trying to trump. Sherlock, in its two seasons, has won almost nine million viewers an episode, two Baftas and provoked countless Twitter storms - most notably last Sunday, as fans tried to work out how the detective had faked his own death. Those missing their Cumberbatch fix can see him on the big screen in War Horse. Next, he will play the lead in Parade's End, a BBC adaptation of Ford Madox Ford's World War One tetralogy. At the end of the month, he's flying to New Zealand for the Lord of the Rings prequel, the Hobbit, in which he is playing the dragon.
Cumberbatch has also just been cast as the villain in JJ Abrams's Star Trek sequel (maintaining the Hollywood association between an English accent and evil). He's currently so ubiquitous that one of my colleagues (male, married, straight) has started dreaming about him. Even his publicist, Karon Maskill, jokes: "We've seen enough of him! I am sick of his face!"
Why is he the man of the moment? "It's entirely down to Sherlock, obviously," says the series creator Steven Moffat, only half-joking. "If you look at his career, he was everywhere and always being talked about as a coming man, but he hadn't had that breakthrough role. To become a star, an icon, you need that - Sean Connery was nowhere before James Bond.
"The moment [Cumberbatch] saw Sherlock, he knew this was the role that would partially define him. He even looks like Sherlock Holmes - the way we would want Sherlock Holmes to look. Robert Downey Jr was brilliant [in the film version] but no one believes that is what Holmes looks like - he is a tall, posh Brit."
It isn't just his looks, though. Cumberbatch has devoted himself to understanding the part: "He does a great deal of preparation before each of his roles, both mental and physical preparation," says Maskill. "By the time he reaches the set, he is totally under the skin of the person he is playing and [brings] a great deal of emotional intelligence."
When he was preparing for the role of Stephen Hawking, he met the Cambridge professor and also two patients suffering from motor neurone disease.
For Sherlock, he learned the violin: "He has this physical ability to pick up stuff - getting the fingering and bowing perfect," says Moffat.
It isn't his playing that viewers hear, though, of course. Moffat says Cumberbatch uses a silent violin: "Benedict says it is very hard to play a genius when you sound like an idiot - but he can actually play it well."
What is he like to work with? "It is all about the work with him," says Maskill. "On a personal level, he is great fun to be around. People perhaps perceive him to be rather serious but in reality he truly has a wicked, wicked sense of humour. There is a great energy that exudes from him which is rather contagious."
Unsurprisingly, Moffat is another of his chief cheerleaders: "Benedict is one of the best actors of his generation - he'll end up being like Michael Gambon. He's a top-flight actor who has become a major star - that's shown in the range and detail of his work."
Despite peeling everything off in Danny Boyle's stage version of Frankenstein last year ("If you've done it [getting naked] once every other night for about three months in front of 1,100 people in a very cool air-conditioned theatre, you get a bit bolder," he said), it is Sherlock which has propelled Cumberbatch from "thinking woman's totty" to lascivious screaming girls territory - and earned "Cumberbitch" a spot in the Urban Dictionary.
"His screen presence can sometimes be a little geeky," reckons Moffat. "But what has played against him becoming a sex symbol before now plays in his favour - Sherlock makes geeky sexy."
Or as the dominatrix Irene Adler put it (while wearing only Sherlock's coat): "Brainy is the new sexy."
When you stick Cumberbatch into Google, the second suggestion, after "gay" (wishful thinking, lads) is "girlfriend". Cumberbatch, so often called an unlikely pin-up, isn't actually that unlikely a pin-up at all. He calls himself horse-faced, I think it is more beer glass-shaped, with cheekbones that could sharpen knives. He thinks his tousled hair in Sherlock makes him look like a woman, females across the land would sell their soul Faust-style for the chance to ruffle it. He rides a motorbike (arriving late to meet Steven Spielberg because he couldn't find anywhere to park) and is rather endearingly broody - saying he regretted not having children by 32 - a statement which had his more ardent fans offering up their ovaries.
They're no longer lusting after a taken man: Cumberbatch recently split from designer Anna Jones. Among the funniest tributes to him on the internet is a slightly surreal cartoon song with the lyrics: "He's got a posh name and he's on the television so it's no big surprise that all the dirty girls want Benedict Cumberbatch." The song then advises keeping a plate of ham to entice Cumberbatch (to "Cumbersnatch" him).
Ah, back to the name: a punner's dream and a headline writer's nightmare (try squeezing that into a small space). He is surely the only actor ever to play Sherlock Holmes who has a more distinctive name than the detective. Cumberbatch - who says his name sounds "like a fart in a bath" - simplified it to Ben Carlton before being told the original was more memorable. It is a name with endless nickname possibilities, as his fellow pupils at Harrow clearly realised, apparently calling him [look away, children]: "Bend my dick, cucumber patch."
What next for Cumberbatch? He says he would like to do an action film; could he put a new spin on Bond when Daniel Craig hangs up his speedos? There have been weirder castings. One thing is obvious: super stardom beckons.
In an interview with the Times last year, Cumberbatch said he couldn't get a restaurant reservation for his birthday: "I should have said my name was Sherlock Holmes. I guess I'll just have to ... have a picnic." That won't happen this year. And ladies, let's not forget: he's looking for someone to go with him.
Virgin Media TV Award winners!
Colin Morgan MerlinThe boy wizard managed to conjure up plenty of votes for this award as he blew the rest of the competition away. Even Doctor Who's Matt Smith didn't get much of a look in with this category.
Thursday, 19 January 2012
Wednesday, 18 January 2012
For Your Consideration: Benedict Cumberbatch
Every year, great actors sabotage their own chances for an Oscar nomination — and in rarer cases, for an Oscar win (damnit, Julianne Moore) — by delivering stellar performances in multiple films, thus splitting their votes and coming up empty-handed. This year, everyone's talking about Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender and Jessica Chastain, three young actors who shined in no less than 11 award-worthy films. These hard-working and talented stars, who for the most part deserve the attention, have unfortunately overshadowed Benedict Cumberbatch, 35, perhaps best known for playing Detective Holmes on TV's Sherlock.
In addition to the magnetism and intrigue he has brought to Holmes, Cumberbatch has had a great year on film — a fact that has not escaped the notice of J.J. Abrams, who recently cast the Brit in Star Trek 2. "Honestly, he’s just an incredible actor," Abrams said at a press conference. "If you’ve seen his work in Sherlock, he’s just got incredible skills. He’s an amazing stage actor. He did amazing work (on stage) in Frankenstein. He’s brilliant. You try to cast people who are great. We got lucky."Cumberbatch's most notable success in film this year occurred in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, a film that has not been met with much warmth in the United States. Perhaps a lack of familiarity with the John Le Carre novel upon which the film is based, combined with a labyrinthine plot, left most American viewers of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy wildly perplexed (myself included), but that ought not to distract from the quality of the acting, which was superb. Gary Oldman, in the lead role of George Smiley, has been the subject of a fair share of buzz for his understated performance, but that makes Cumberbatch's lack of attention all the more puzzling. As Smiley's right-hand man Peter Guillam in the film, Cumberbatch dazzles like Swarovski crystal held to the light, while suggesting, in minute flashes, an edge of insidious sharpness.
Notice the way Cumberbatch describes Guilliam's character in our exclusive interview with him and compare it to the thoughtless dribble most actors his age use to describe their work. "So it’s interesting Guillam on the front of it is very at ease with who he is, his visual look is very sort of dandified. He’s got a great blond bob, and fantastic Citroën DS car, and these fantastic beautiful clothes," he said. "It’s all going swimmingly, but that’s part of a personal armor that slowly, steadily gets stripped away."There's also something about Cumberbatch not so easy to explain — a je ne sais quois missing from many Hollywood stars that fill out the year's roster of beefcakes and bad boys. It could be that he's not exactly cut out to be a hearthrob, replacing biceps and pouty lips with something more cerebral, more dignified. In Steven Spielberg's War Horse he is simply electrifying: the film, asleep with sentimentality for its first thirty or so minutes, bolts upright when Cumberbatch's naively-trained Major Stewart strides into the frame, and sags a little when he departs a brief interim later. No, it's not quite enough screen time to really earn him an Oscar nod — not among such lengthier supporting roles played brilliantly by Albert Brooks in Drive and Christopher Plummer in Beginners — but if there were an Academy Award for scene-stealing, Cumberbatch would be 2011's most deserving.
Benedict Cumberbatch On Sherlock's Return
'Deductions are always a very painful birth...'
Benedict Cumberbatch is a star on the rise — why, only this week he bagged a role in JJ Abrams' Star Trek 2, and he also has a short but memorable part in movie-of-the-moment War Horse. But his signature performance remains one on the small screen, as Sherlock Holmes in the BBC's wildly successful TV serial. Empire met him on set in August 2010 to talk snazzy coats, mind-boggling monologues and his upcoming stint in Middle-earth.
Warning: This interview does contain spoilers.
Sherlock has become an unlikely style icon. Was that a surprise?
We all put a lot of thought into his outfits, so I guess when you get massive exposure on a popular TV drama the look of something can catch on. The gloves and scarf were my idea, and the coat was [costume designer] Ray Holman’s discovery. There's just a clean, linear, functional beauty about Sherlock. There’s nothing showy or flamboyant about him. And I get to wear very well-cut, good-looking suits, although there’s so little waist that sometimes I can’t breathe or digest properly. The sad thing is that I had a coat very similar to Sherlock's before I got the role - it was a present from someone - but I can't wear it out in public now, which is sad.
There's more teamwork between Watson and Holmes this year...
It's true, there is a bit more of a united front. But that’s mostly out of necessity, because they're being thrown the biggest challenges they've had so far. The big arc for Sherlock is that he’s gaining humanity. Or rather it’s being brought out of him. He's on the side of the angels, but his methods can be pretty devilish. Standing on a dying man's neck, saying, "Give me his name!" is quite a tough thing to do, for example, but he's dealing with a world of extremes: corpses, death and suffering.
What scene are you about to shoot?
There's a huge, fuck-off deduction I've got to do today! I’m basically cracking a code that is all to do with Irene Adler. What information she possesses and why people are after her. It’s this constantly slipping, sliding, changing landscape of trust and counter-trust and counter movements. And, at the same time, it’s a massive flirtation - it's a dance between the two of them.
Do you dread doing those scenes?
With deductions, I start learning my lines two or three days before, at the very least, because they're always a very painful birth, as anyone who’s been on set with me will testify. The trick, I've found, is to deliver a sentence while you're already thinking about the next one. The speed of it has to come from thinking, "What's next? What's next? What's next?" You just have to work very, very hard at it, and on the day try to find pockets of time to completely shut off and be quite kind of meditative about it.
Have you ever nailed one in the first take?
Never in the first take, but I have done it in one take. There are some long continuous shots in this sequence, so we'll see...
Are you excited about taking on The Hound Of The Baskervilles?
Yeah, very. We're doing interesting things with it. It’s Doyle's most famous story and it’s one of the ones that features Holmes less. In our version there is a lot of Watson on his own in the field, but we're making Holmes much more a part of it. It's much more of a team effort. It was great to shoot stuff outside, out in Dartmoor.
After this, you're doing Parade's End and then you've got a dual role in The Hobbit…
I’ll be doing bits on The Hobbit in 2012. I’m playing Smaug through motion-capture and voicing the Necromancer, which is a character in the Five Legions War or something which I’m meant to understand. (Laughs) He’s not actually in the original Hobbit. It’s something he’s taken from Lord Of The Rings that he wants to put in there.
Those are two cuddly characters…
Yeah! I'm going to have to keep my smarts about me when it comes to emotionalising a demon and a dragon...