I had parents who were working actors, who did really well in their careers, but it was a living. So it was a reality for me growing up; it wasn't a fantasy. It wasn't sitting there going, "I want to be adored." It wasn't that at all. Not to say that the screams of fans aren't a smile-raiser, but that was never the pull for me.
Thus, a vision of the whole gradually grew for me that was nourished by the various experiences and realizations I had encountered along my theological path. I rejoiced to be able to say something of my own, something new and yet completely within the faith of the Church. The feeling of aquiring a theological vision that was ever more clearly my own was the most wonderful experience of those years.
[on Martin Freeman playing Bilbo Baggins] It was great. I got to hang out with him, and I kept a straight face for a bit and then I started giggling because I know Martin, I don't know Bilbo. For Martin to be sitting there playing Bilbo is amazing. He's going to be amazing, he's going to be fantastic in this film.
The first time we did cavalry charge I was so breathless with excitement I nearly fell off the horse. I actually saw stars in front of my eyes and thought I was going to faint. The second time I had a bit more control but was still giddy with excitement. And the third time I was an emotional wreck. I had to really try hard not to cry.
I've been very lucky at what's happened in my career to date, but playing something as far from me as possible is an ambition of mine - anything from a mutated baddy in a comic book action thriller, to a detective. If anything, I'd like Gary Oldman's career: he's the perfect example of it. I've love to have a really broad sweep of characters - to be able to do something edgy, surprising and unfashionable.
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Do I like being thought of as attractive? I don't know anyone on Earth who doesn't, but I do find it funny. I look in a mirror and I see all the faults I've lived with for 35 years and yet people go kind of nuts for certain things about me. It's not me being humble. I just think it's weird.
When auditioning, I try to imagine that I'm the only person that they [directors] are seeing that day because it can be overwhelming, in the same sense that it could be overwhelming if you try to fulfil everyone's expectations rather than the people closest to you in the creative process, be it your director, or fellow actors and the writers. So, that's kind of it - I try to trick myself into believing that no one has ever gone there before.
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I've gone up two suit sizes. The character I'm playing, he's strong, I can say that much. I've changed my physique a bit, so that requires eating like a foie gras goose, well beyond your appetite. Providing I don't feel too ill, I then work out two hours a day with a phenomenal trainer. It's the LA way.
I'm always keen to use my body in my work, so I'm looking forward to the motion capture for Smaug. Both Gollum and King Kong were primates, whereas I'm playing a serpent, so it'll be interesting - I'll have to tie my legs together, possibly, or else they'll be kind of splayed out to the side as a reptile's should be.
The generation now below me were born into a world where if you're a kid with raw talent now, you can roll in and land a lead in a Scorsese film. You don't have to have prove yourself by working up the ranks, doing the classics, and getting the canon under your belt in the way the great Sirs and Dames of mom and dad's generation - the [Ben] Kingsleys and [Helen] Mirrens and [Anthony] Hopkinses and people of that ilk.
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My first agent dissuaded me from calling myself 'Cumberbatch.' I had six months of not very productive time with her, so I changed agents. The new one said, 'Why aren't you using your family name? It's a real attention-grabber.' I worried, 'How much is it going to cost to put my name in lights?' But then I decided that's not my problem.
I'm aware of the power of looks. I've wanted to play roles that have gone to much better-looking people and you just think 'Oh well, that's the pin up guy's an actor like my friend James Mcavoy, who's gorgeous on screen. I'm not that. But at least I don't have to worry about taking precious care of my face because it's my commodity. That's a great freedom. I'm not afraid of being heinous for the sake of a part
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Being in front of an audience makes me feel alive. Being with friends makes me feel alive. I've done some crazy stuff in my time and yet I can feel infinitely alive curled up on a sofa reading a book. So, what makes me feel alive? I guess it's realizing I am part of the world around me.
I think what I loved in cinema - and what I mean by cinema is not just films, but proper, classical cinema - are the extraordinary moments that can occur on screen. At the same time, I do feel that cinema and theater feed each other. I feel like you can do close-up on stage and you can do something very bold and highly characterized - and, dare I say, theatrical - on camera. I think the cameras and the viewpoints shift depending on the intensity and integrity of your intention and focus on that.
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I'm very proud of the work I do, but I genuinely can't involve myself with an audience as early as somebody who's not part of the film can. So there's that side of theater that appeals to me, where you give something and the response to what you've created is a communion between you and the dark that contains however many people. It's thrilling not having a reflection other than through the people you're communicating with. But people ask, "What do you prefer?" and I don't have a preference. I love them both. I really do.
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I'm still very sensitive and wary of people recognising me The only thing that really annoys me is people trying to surreptitiously take a photo on their phone without asking. I feel it's cowardly and a bit pathetic. Just ask me if you really want me to have a photograph with you.