Author: Gi

Benedict voices new art installation dedicated to Romanian doctors

Benedict is the voice of Don’t Take Them for Granted, an art installation dedicated to medical staff and all those in the pandemic’s front line. Check out the video below:

The artists involved explained how and why the project came to be:

Don’t Take Them for Granted is a public project initiated by the UNFINISHED community that includes images and texts captured by artists Cristian Movilă and Capucine Gros, between March and August 2020. The photographs and writings document over 70 hours documenting the fight against COVID-19, captured right in the heart of the intensive care units of Bucharest’s main public hospitals: Institutul Național de Boli Infecțioase “Prof. Dr. Matei Balș” Hospital, Spitalul Militar ROL 2, and Spitalul Universitar de Urgență.

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Benedict talks diving with Esquire

Benedict talks diving with Esquire

October is off to a great start for this fandom! We got yet another new interview with Benedict, this time for Esquire magazine! Please check it out below:

Benedict Cumberbatch Is Diving (and Disconnecting From the Chaos) in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Newest Watch

By Nick Sullivan

Benedict Cumberbatch has been busy during the ongoing strangeness of 2020, with a number of major film projects in the pipeline, including Jane Campion’s much-awaited The Power of the Dog, filmed in New Zealand at the beginning of the country’s effective lockdown. Two-thirds through the filming, Cumberbatch took a quick break to film a short for legendary Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre, uniting filmmaking with his other love, diving.

The Jaeger on his wrist in the film is the new Polaris Mariner Memovox, the latest in a long line of very elegant dive watches from the storied brand, that surfaced just this morning. Where most classic dive watches generally err on the side of beefy, the Polaris is refined, with all the functionality of a true ISO6425-certified diver but with its unidirectional dive timer fitted inside the watch instead of on a chunky bezel, which makes for a far sleeker case. We caught up with Cumberbatch over Zoom to find out more.

Diving has long been a thing for you. Why is that?

I’ve always been interested in it, ever since watching [1988 movie] The Big Blue and, you know, trying in a vain, kind of amateur attempt to just go deeper and stay under for longer, just to get something off the ocean floor—or just for fun.

But your experience is more with a scuba tank on your back?

I’ve done a fair bit of it, yes. I just love the submersion, the quiet, the isolation, the sort of focus and sense of achievement. I’d done free diving in the way you do with it with a scuba mask, to get something on the bottom. Sometimes with flippers, but never with weights. Originally this was pitched as an idea to incorporate things that I enjoy doing and the environment that I was in at the time. So diving seemed like the natural option, but I meant scuba diving. It was misinterpreted, in fact, but I’m thrilled about that. I got to learn something new.

And then it had weirdly coincided with meeting someone in Italy who is a free diver who took me in a pool to teach me how do the breathing. Not at any great depth, but just how to maintain that kind of discipline and use it underwater. And then along came this pitch for the advert.

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Benedict talks “The Courier” with Total Film magazine

The October issue of Total Film magazine features a new interview with Benedict about The Courier! Please check the scan out below:

Here’s a transcription for those who may need it:

GENTLEMAN SPY

THE COURIER | Benedict Cumberbatch plays a real-life secret agent in amateur-espionage thriller.

Like 99.9 per cent of the buildings in London, Hornsey Town Hall has recently been converted into flats (£774,950 for a two-bed, if you’re interested). But in November 2018, the Grade II-listed modernist structure provided the perfect backdrop for Cold War story The Courier. “We did an awful lot there,” smiles director Dominic Cooke during a catch-up almost two years later. “It stood in for bits of London, bits of Moscow… we wrung every bit of juice out of that building that we could!”

Though not a space designed for filming – down a corridor no wider than an armchair, Teasers carefully tiptoes between bunched cables while admiring the original Art Deco light fittings – today Hornsey Town Hall is home to one of the world’s biggest film stars: Benedict Cumberbatch. In The Courier, he plays Greville Wynne – the real-life British businessman recruited by MI6 to transport information from Soviet double agent Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) to London at the height of the Cold War.

“As a genre I find spy movies a bit cold,” admits Cooke. Instead the Hollow Crown director, who made his feature debut with 2017’s On Chesil Beach, was drawn to the warmth of Tom O’Connor’s script. “It’s a hybrid between a spy movie and a platonic love story,” explains Cooke of the forged-in-fire bond between Wynne and Penkovsky. “The film it reminded me of was Brief Encounter. They knew they were doing something very important together, so they were fuelled by the danger and secrecy.”

Also starring The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Rachel Brosnahan as CIA spook Emily Donovan and Jessie Buckley as Wynne’s wife Sheila – who didn’t know a thing about her husband’s unusual side hustle – the key piece of casting for Cooke was Soviet war-hero-turned-defector Penkovsky. “I really wanted a genuine Russian-speaking actor for the role, so [the producers] reluctantly allowed me to go off to Moscow,” Cooke recalls. “Merab actually came in for another part, but he was so good I said, ‘Look at Penkovsky.’ These days, you need authenticity.”

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Celebrating 5 years of “Hamlet”

Celebrating 5 years of “Hamlet”

Five years ago today, Benedict made his return to the stage with the iconic Shakespeare character that’s on most actors bucket list – including his – and caused quite a stir. Today, we’d like to celebrate such milestone in his career.

When Lyndsey Turner’s production of Hamlet premiered at the Barbican Theatre in London on 5 August 2015 for a 12-week run, it was already a success. Actually, that’s an understatement: it already was the fastest-selling ticket in the city’s theatre history, a title it managed to acquire when the box-office opened almost one whole year before, when it also beat Beyoncé and Jay’s On the Run tour for most popular event on British ticket website Viagogo – by 214%.

That much buzz was followed by controversy and not because of the production itself, but because of two media outlets: British newspaper Times and disreputable tabloid Daily Mail both broke the show’s embargo and published reviews based on the very first performance, disregarding its preview period of two and a half weeks, which even motivated director John Tiffany to write an opinion piece for The Guardian on why and how that was a disservice to the play and the audiences.Benedict, on the other hand, made good use of the limelight: After performances, he’d make impassionated pleas to the audiences about the refugee crisis and criticise the UK governement’s “shameful” response to it (going as far as saying “fuck the politicians”, something he rightfully doesn’t regret). As far as we known, Hamlet audiences raised more than £100k for refugees.

It was a very busy time for Benedict: besides doing the play (sometimes twice a day), he had to buff up to play Doctor Stranger in his debut solo movie and, more importantly, be there for his first son, Christopher, who was months old. Even so, he ‘d take the time to greet fans at the stage door after performances in spite of have said he wouldn’t be able to do so the year before.

The hard work from the cast and crew paid off: it wrapped up its run with the same kind of mind-blowing success it kicked off with: its National Theatre Live broadcast in October was, to that date, the highest-grossing cinema opening of 2015 in the UK and Ireland. In December of that year, it had already made nearly £3 million at the box office and broken the record for largest global NT Live audience.

Happy anniversary, Hamlet! We can only hope Benedict’s next theatre project will be met with the same level of enthusiasm and acclaim

Benedict talks “The Courier” with Entertainment Weekly

The August issue of Entertainment Weekly features a nice little interview with Benedict on The Courier (formerly known as Ironbark) and his newest hero. Check it out below:

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH

If you think you know the only type of hero the Doctor Strange star can play, think again: The Courier introduces a new kind of Cumberbatchian leading man.

By James Hibberd

From detective Sherlock Holmes to code breaker Alan Turing to Marvel’s wizard Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch became a global star over the past decade by playing a rather particular brand of hero: the charming, mad-brilliant rogue whose abilities almost outweigh his arrogance. But for his latest role, in the historical drama The Courier, the 44-year-old goes entirely against type by tackling the true story of Greville Wynne, an average businessman who’s talked into helping the CIA and MI6 infiltrate Soviet intelligence during the Cold War. “I’ve played a few troubled geniuses in my time, and what impressed me about Wynne’s story was how this quiet Everyman became a hero,” the actor says. “I couldn’t believe this man who had no knowledge, no understanding, no connection to [the espionage] world was suddenly thrown into the midst of it.

[We] see how somebody ordinary becomes extraordinary.”
Portraying Wynne’s journey arc required Cumberbatch to gain weight to play the out-of-shape character, and then dramatically slim down for scenes that transpire later in the film. “Being a naturally thinner frame, I can
boast about it being easier to take it off than to put it on, which doesn’t make me many friends,” Cumberbatch quips. Next for the actor is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which was pushed back to a March 2022 release date due to the pandemic delaying production. (“I’m really excited to throw the cloak back on,” is all he’ll share.) For now, he has a bit of advice to those seeking a hero inside themselves: “The quest to do something outside your comfort zone—to go into that cave, go into that forest, immerse yourself in a new world—that’s not just a personal journey. You come back with something better.”

MY HERO

“New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern [who has garnered acclaim for her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic].
She would never characterize herself as a hero, but she’s led with clarity and strength, and great humanity and humor. A lot of male leaders could take a leaf from her book.”
“Brexit: The Uncivil War” nominated for 2 BAFTA TV Awards

“Brexit: The Uncivil War” nominated for 2 BAFTA TV Awards

Earlier today, The British Academy of Film and Television Arts revealed the nominees for this year’s TV Awards and…Brexit is among them! The movie is up for two awards, they are:

BEST SINGLE DRAMA

Brexit: The Uncivil War – House Productions, Baffin Media/Channel 4

Elizabeth Is Missing – Andrea Gibb, Aisling Walsh, Sarah Brown, Chrissy Skinns – STV Productions/BBC One

The Left Behind – Alan Harris, Joseph Bullman, Aysha Rafaele, Tracie Simpson – BBC Studios/BBC Three

Responsible Child – Karen Wilson, Elinor Day, Sean Buckley, Nick Holt – Kudos, 72 Films/BBC Two

BEST DIRECTOR – FICTION

Harry Bradbeer (Fleabag) – Two Brothers Pictures/BBC Three

Johan Renck (Chernobyl) – Sister Pictures, The Mighty Mint, Word Games/Sky Atlantic

Shane Meadows (The Virtues) – Warp Films, Big Arty Productions/Channel 4

Toby Haynes (Brexit) – House Productions/Channel 4

The winners will be revealed on Friday 31 July, when it’ll be broadcasted on BBC One. Due to the pandemic and to make sure it’s a safe event, it will take place as a closed studio, socially-distanced show, with nominees invited to accept their awards virtually. It’ll be hosted by multi-hyphenate Richard Ayoade.

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Benedict joins Taika Waititi’s charity reading of “James and the Giant Peach”

Benedict joins Taika Waititi’s charity reading of “James and the Giant Peach”

Benedict is taking part in Taika Waititi’s charity reading of Roald Dahl’s classic James and the Giant Peach. The first two (out of ten) installments are already available on Roald Dahl’s official Youtube channel, with Benedict joining Taika and Meryl Streep on the second one:

The goal is to raise funds for Partners In Health, a nonprofit founded by Ophelia Dahl (Roald’s daugther), which is dedicated to fighting COVID-19 and supporting public health systems around the world.

Benedict joins Hay Festival Digital event in celebration of Wordsworth siblings

Benedict joins Hay Festival Digital event in celebration of Wordsworth siblings

Hay Festival has announced this year’s edition will go ahead in free digital form from 22-31 May. According to its official website, it’ll consist of:

Free live broadcasts and interactive Q&As from over 100 of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers who share their insights and interrogate some of the biggest issues of our time, from Covid-19 and world health to the climate crisis and our future. 

Benedict will take part in one of the very first events, a celebration of the works of siblings William and Dorothy Wordsworth, alongside a stellar cast:

Simon Armitage, Margaret Atwood, Benedict Cumberbatch, Monty Don, Stephen Fry, Tom Hollander, Toby Jones, Helen McCrory, Jonathan Pryce and Vanessa Redgrave

WORDSWORTH 250: A NIGHT IN WITH THE WORDSWORTHS

Friday 22 May 2020, 6.30pm – 7.25pm (GMT + 1)
Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage

A gala performing of William’s poetry and Dorothy’s journals begins our 250th anniversary celebrations with a superstar cast reading work that will include Intimations of ImmortalityDaffodills, lines composed both Upon Westminster Bridge and Above Tintern AbbeyThe Prelude and We Are Seven. Hosted and introduced by Shahidha Bari.

Click here to register for the event.

Gallery update: The Current War screencaps

Gallery update: The Current War screencaps

We’ve added more than 700 high-quality screencaps of The Current War: Director’s Cut to our gallery! Check them out below:

The Current War: Director’s Cut is now available on digital, DVD and Blu-Ray in the US.

New Letters of Note (audio)book series features readings by Benedict

New Letters of Note (audio)book series features readings by Benedict

Six new volumes in the Letters of Note series organized by Shaun Usher are being released today by British publisher Canongate, each dedicated to one subject: love, art, music, mothers, cats or war.

They’re introducing the new Letters of Note paperback/ebook collection which is also being released in audio format, a first for the series. The audiobooks feature performances from Letters Live regulars like Benedict, who performs in all six. And to make things even better: Canongate will make a donation to the National Literacy Trust, one of Letters Live’s regular partner charities, for each audiobook sold!

Below you’ll find more information on the British editions. We decided to include their International Standard Book Numbers instead of links to any particular stores in an attempt to (hopefully) make things easier for you, so that you can look them up in whichever stores you prefer whether you live in the UK or not.

Also, we know of release dates in four other countries: Germany (already out), Canada (31 March), Australia (this month/next month) and the US (6 October)!

Love

ISBNs:

Paperback: 9781786895325

Ebook: 9781786895332

Audiobook: 9781838850050

Art

ISBNs:

Paperback: 9781838851460

Ebook: 9781838851477

Audiobook: 9781838851842

Music

ISBNs:

Paperback: 9781786895592

Ebook: 9781786895585

Audiobook: 9781838850128

Mothers

ISBNs:

Paperback: 9781786899446

Ebook: 9781786899453

Audiobook: It’s an Audible (from any country, as far as we could tell) exclusive.

Cats

ISBNs:

Paperback: 9781786895547

Ebook: 9781786895554

Audiobook: 9781838850104

War

ISBNs:

Paperback: 9781786895349

Ebook: 9781786895356

Audiobook: 9781838850081