Tuesday 18 September 2012

Benedict Cumberbatch May 2005 article

The African continent provided plenty of opportunities. “The cast had great fun together. We had poker nights, beach parties, dune buggying, horseback safaris. One weekend we went to a game reserve called Phinda, where we were treated like royalty and had our own cook.
“It was really posh, and the most expensive treat I gave myself during filming. I then learnt to scuba dive in one of the most beautiful places on God’s earth, about a three-hour drive from where we were filming.
“I’d already been whale watching, but on my second dive I swam with a whale, who was about ten feet away from me. It was magical, the most beautiful sight and it had a baby whale swimming by its head.
“When I finished filming in Cape Town I went swimming with great white sharks. I was in a cage and they were fed just beside us. It was terrifying and wonderful - they are such a potent force of nature.”
After filming he headed for Namibia, wanting to be in a dry hot and arid climate after four months on a boat. The airport for remote Windhoek, where he ventured, was literally marked out with pebbles. Half an hour after arriving, Cumberbatch was back up in a plane, this time with one propeller, about to do his first sky dive.
“When you freefall for 7,000 feet it doesn’t feel like you’re falling: it feels like you’re floating, a bit like scuba diving. I was strapped to an instructor and when we took off out of the plane I thought, ‘I’m either going to be landing very softly or hurtling towards my death’. I couldn’t stop screaming - it was an incredible experience.
“I did a really touristy thing and I got a video made of my jump. There is an unflattering film of me, double chin flapping around my ears, going through the G-Force and going ‘oh-my-God’ - and a lot worse!
“It was the most exquisite sensation and when I landed on the ground I wanted to do it again. I felt incredibly horny as well, because it’s such an extreme thing. You think, ‘God, I’ve just had the most massive bite out of life and I’m really hungry for more’.”
After a night sleeping under the stars amongst the red sand dunes, he did do another jump and then took the Namibian equivalent of the Orient Express.
“I’ve been kayaking and white water rafting when I was in India. This really re-awakened my sense of just having fun with your body in nature.”

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