Category: Interviews

Benedict talks ‘The Mauritanian’ to pARTicipate

In a new interview for pARTicipate’s Bruce Dennill, Benedict talks about producing the film, his role as Lt Col Stuart Couch and more. Read the full interview below:

Benedict Cumberbatch has acted alongside many Hollywood greats, but the English actor was “geeking out” when it came to working with Jodie Foster in The Mauritanian. Benedict did not plan on starring in the film. He thought he would stay behind the camera as a producer. The script, however, developed over time and the role and moral dilemmas faced by US military prosecutor Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Couch in the Guantanamo Bay-set film expanded and intrigued Cumberbatch. In this interview he discusses [the film’s protagonist] Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s horrifying story, working with Foster, battling illness on the South African set and having to wear a skull cap after the late decision to play Lt Col Couch.

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New interview for The Independent

To promote The Mauritanian, which is getting released on Amazon Prime in the UK this week, Benedict Cumberbatch did a new interview for The Independent in which he opened up about thinking he had COVID-19 while filming the movie, his views on the Guantánamo prison and his career as a producer.

Benedict Cumberbatch: ‘Joe Biden? I’m going to plead with the guy to shut Guantanamo’

The actor talks to James Mottram about his Bafta-nominated film about an inmate of the infamous US detention camp; working with Jodie Foster and The Serpent’s Tahar Rahim; and why he worries he may have been Covid’s ‘patient zero’.

At the beginning of last year, when news began to emerge of a mysterious, deadly new virus that was spreading across the globe, Benedict Cumberbatch was struck by a horrible thought. At the end of 2019, he had flown to South Africa to shoot new film The Mauritanian, but as he arrived, he tells me, he fell sick. “I was incredibly ill, to the point that when all this Covid stuff suddenly broke in the new year, I was thinking, oh my god was I actually patient zero. I was so ill – it was borderline pneumonia.”

He had to plough on regardless, “throwing up between takes”, as shooting commenced. The film was being produced by the independent film and TV company he jointly owns, SunnyMarch. They had recreated Guantanamo Bay in Cape Town, and they were working on a story that had possessed Cumberbatch for six years.

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The cast of ‘The Mauritanian’ talk about the movie with The Guardian

British newspaper The Guardian published on its March 26 issue a new article featuring Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tahar Rahim and Jodie Foster talking about “The Mauritanian”, ahead of the film’s release on Amazon Prime UK next April 1.

You can see the exclusive scans on our gallery and read the article below:

‘We don’t live in a world of goodies and baddies, do we?’ The true story behind The Mauritanian.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi was tortured and detained without charge in Guantánamo for 14 years. Tahar Rahim, Jodie Foster and Benedict Cumberbatch discuss bringing his memoir to life.

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Benedict talks “The Mauritanian” on the newest TV & Satellite Week

Benedict is the cover of the newest issue (27 March) of TV & Satellite Week magazine, which features a short interview with the main cast of The Mauritanian! Check it out below:

Benedict Cumberbatch, Tahar Rahim and Jodie Foster star in a powerful true story about a tortured Guantánamo Bay prisoner

A shocking true story comesto the screen this week in Amazon Prime Video film The Mauritanian, starring The Serpent’s Tahar Rahim as a wrongly accused terrorist suspect imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay for 14 years without charge.

Directed by Oscar-winning film-makerKevin Macdonald,the drama –which has been nominated for Best Film atthe upcoming BAFTAs – opens two months after the tragic deaths of almost 3,000 people in the 9/11 terror attacks.

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Benedict appears as guest on ‘The Late Late Show with James Corden’

Last night (March 18) Benedict appeared on The Late Late Show with James Corden to promote The Courier. He and James also remembered that time they played dodgeball, when Benedict hit Michelle Obama, and discussed an app called the Atomic Fart Machine, which he played with James Corden. Watch the clip below:

You can watch the whole segment here.

Check out some screencaptures of Benedict’s appearance:

Benedict discusses ‘The Courier’ with Uproxx

He also had a few words to say about upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Read the interview below:

The weird thing about interviewing Benedict Cumberbatch is he’s hilarious. And it’s an easy thing to forget because he’s not exactly known for making uproarious comedies. But during an interview, he’ll wait for his moment to strike with just the right amount of sarcastic wit and, well, it gets me every time. (On this occasion he wasted very little time.)

Though, on this occasion there was a slight sense of frustration radiating from his usually cool demeanor. And, honestly, it’s understandable. Cumberbatch is starring in The Courier and he’s pretty fantastic in it. It’s a role you can tell Cumberbatch put his heart fully into, going as far as to lose a dramatic amount of weight to portray the real-life Greville Wynne, a British businessman who was enlisted by the government to spy on the Soviet Union during the Cold War. (If you look back at photos of Cumberbatch from late 2019, he’s impossibly thin, representing Wynne after he was released from Soviet custody.) Yet, this is a movie flying under people’s radars. Cumberbatch is diplomatic about the whole thing, but, yes, it’s obvious he really wants people to see this movie and he’s got a really good case.

Also, as we were literally out of time, I asked Cumberbatch if we could just cut to the chase and he could say something hyperbolic about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and the, again, always hilarious Cumberbatch did not disappoint. But, first, he asked why my Zoom video wasn’t working.

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Benedict and Jimmy Fallon have a fun chat on the Tonight Show

Last night, Benedict was a guest on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and talked with Jimmy about The Mauritanian, The Courier and Wandavision. They also played a game that requiered them to work through an entire conversation about their favourite movies in alphabetical order.

Check out the videos (and hundreds of screencaps!) below:

Benedict reveals he was sick with flu during ‘The Mauritanian’ shooting

In an interview to USA Today, he also spoke about meeting the real Lt. Colonel Stewart Couch and getting his accent right. Read more below:

A pivotal scene in “The Mauritanian” places the drama’s two biggest stars – Benedict Cumberbatch and Jodie Foster – head to head as opposing lawyers meeting unofficially. It’s a legal version of Al Pacino’s cop meeting Robert De Niro’s robber in “Heat,” set in the surreal location of a gift shop near Cuba’s notorious Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp.

It was Foster’s first scene and first day on the set in Cape Town, South Africa, which effectively stood in for the incongruent Caribbean paradise that surrounds Gitmo. But it was Cumberbatch who struggled as cameras rolled.

“I was getting sick in between takes,” Cumberbatch remembers, calling from a car somewhere outside of London. The 44-year-old “Doctor Strange” star thinks he was in the final stages of a terrible flu he picked up on the flight to South Africa. Or something. “I was really ill, I think it was just a really severe flu. But it was really nasty. I hadn’t been that ill for quite a long time. Like maybe once in my life. Horrible.”

In the pre-COVID era, Cumberbatch was intent on battling forth. “The Mauritanian” (in theaters Friday, on demand March 2) represented a five-year quest to bring Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s remarkable story to the screen.

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Benedict and “The Mauritanian” team talk with Variety

Yesterday, Variety held an exclusive screening of The Mauritanian followed by a Q&A with the main cast and director Kevin Macdonald. Now, the 42-minutes-long talk is available for all to watch! Check it out below:

Cast, Director of ‘The Mauritanian’ Examine Themes Behind the Film: ‘It’s Beyond His Innocence or His Guilty’

By Natalie Oganesyan

The cast and director of “The Mauritanian,” based on a true story of the torture and trial of a suspected 9/11 terrorist, want audiences to take away lessons of empathy, love and justice from the film.

Academy Award-winning director Kevin Macdonald, along with stars Jodie Foster, Benedict Cumberbatch, Shailene Woodley and Tahar Rahim joined Variety film awards editor Clayton Davis in the Variety Streaming Room to discuss the difficulties of and preparation required to recount the gargantuan story of Mohamedou (Rahim), a man who unwittingly got involved with al-Qaida and was subsequently tortured at Guantanamo Bay without trial for his alleged involvement in 9/11.

For Macdonald, one of the challenges of the film was weaving the separate storylines of an ensemble cast — Mohamedou, his defense (Woodley and Foster) and military prosecutor’s (Cumberbatch) — into one cohesive story.

“How do you take these disparate stories and weave them together in a way that is compelling … and where you don’t feel like these are three completely disconnected stories,” Macdonald said.

The stars reflected on the complications of portraying real people, which they surmounted by researching the case and meeting with their respective characters. “With Nancy, you do feel that responsibility to make sure that you honor not just who she is, but her mission,” said Foster of her character Nancy Hollander, Mohamedou’s defense attorney who emphasizes the importance of the rule of law throughout the pic.

The panelists said a main driver of the film is the intellectual themes behind the story, such as the universality of humanity, the necessity of protecting civil liberties and the overwhelming power of fear and bias.

“When we look at fear, it’s easy to look at it from a very mental-based place, but I think, for [Teri,] she had a deep emotional fear, a fear of isolation, a fear of feeling neglected, a fear of being kicked out of society, in a way, because what she wants to do is right, but then she gets in her head about are the decisions she’s making right?” Woodley said of her character Teri Duncan, who is an amalgamation of the defense behind the case. “What does right and wrong even mean?”

Cumberbatch, who plays Lt. Stuart Couch, said he was attracted to the role because of the journey his character takes in unraveling the institutional issues that plague the U.S. military, particularly at Guantanamo.

“From wanting blood and then being brought to a realization that everything that he founds his belief on, from the law to the military to Christianity, and not necessarily in that order, was being undone by the actions at Guantanamo, and he couldn’t, with any conviction, square his conscious, and so he stepped away, he did that extraordinary thing of giving up the case,” Cumberbatch said.

Rahim, who plays the titular role, said his main obstacle was getting into the mental space required to depict a torture victim. To help with the reality of the scenes, he asked Macdonald to make his cell as cold as possible and be put in shackles. “It was tough. Because how could I possibly know what it is to be tortured like this?”

For Macdonald, the film serves as a lens through which audiences can understand the multiple facets of humanity beyond the realms of guilt or innocence.

“The Muslim man accused of terror is probably the least loved person in the world and the least understood person, and I think … it’s that emotional connection,” Macdonald said. “It’s a film about humanity and about why are we doing this to other human beings? What possible excuse can there be? And it’s beyond his innocence or his guilt.”

Source: Variety

New interview for Magic Radio

Benedict gave a brand new interview for Magic Radio on their ‘Prince’s Trust Day’, in which he talked about the work The Prince’s Trust has been doing during the COVID-19 pandemic, what he was up to during lockdown and why Doctor Strange’s cloak of levitation is definitely not a cape.

You can listen to it below:

Planet Radio · Benedict Cumberbatch joins Emma B on Prince’s Trust Day

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