Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe To Empire!
Get 12 issues from just £25
Must-Have Movie Collectibles
Bid on some classic memorabilia

The Imitation Game (2014)
Empire Star Rating
August: Osage County (2014)
Empire Star Rating
12 Years A Slave (2014)
Empire Star Rating
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (2013)
Empire Star Rating
The Fifth Estate (2013)
Empire Star Rating
More new cinemas releases
DVD & Blu-ray releases

Benedict Cumberbatch On Sherlock's Return
'Deductions are always a very painful birth...'

submit to reddit

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.

Benedict Cumberbatch On Sherlock's Return

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.

Benedict Cumberbatch On Sherlock's Return

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...

  • Martin Freeman Talks Sherlock On hound-hunting, Jude Law and rebooted hair
  • Sherlock: Series 2 is airing on BBC1 on Sunday nights. For Empire’s exclusive on-set report, pick up the issue on sale now.

    Interview by Nick de Semlyen

    Empire's New Spectre Issue Covers
    First look at Bond 24 in Empire's April issue

    Vote For The Jameson Empire Awards 2015!
    Your mission is clear...

    The Oscars: Who Won What?
    The winners, the losers, the dresses, the suits...

    The Empire Podcast Oscars 2015 Special
    The team's take on the 87th Academy Awards

    Sleeping Beauties: The Story Behind 12 Of Cinema's Unlikeliest Hits
    They came, they saw, they surprisingly conquered

    Writer / Director Dan Gilroy Reveals 8 Nightcrawler Secrets
    On Jake Gyllenhaal's hand-slicing mirror smash and more...

    Robert Downey Jr. On Age Of Ultron
    Tomorrow: Mark Ruffalo talks Bruce Banner...

    Subscribe to Empire magazine
    Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

    Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

    Subscribe today

    Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
    Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

    Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

    Subscribe today
    Buy single issues

    Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
    Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
    Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
    Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
    The Empire iPad Edition
    With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
    Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
    © Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
    Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)