Read below a great interview Benedict gave to Physics World, the British Institute of Physics magazine, featured on this month’s issue but also available online.
Benedict Cumberbatch: the imitation game
By Andrew Glaster
Continue reading Benedict talks about Science and cinema to Physics World
Over the years I have spoken to scientists and actors alike for my podcast The Cosmic Shed, where we explore science and science fiction in equal measure. One actor I’ve interviewed who has portrayed several different scientists is Benedict Cumberbatch. He’s starred in three science-themed movies – first as the botanist Joseph Hooker in Creation (2009), then as the mathematician Alan Turing in The Imitation Game (2014), and most recently as the inventor Thomas Edison in The Current War (2019). He’s also played Stephen Hawking in the 2004 TV film Hawking and Werner Heisenberg in a BBC radio adaptation of Michael Frayn’s play Copenhagen (2013).
“I do like my scientists!” Cumberbatch laughed when I asked him how he had come to be cast in these roles. “I think it’s partly because of the way I look. I could never achieve anything like what these men [I’ve played] have achieved but I think what I can do is portray the thing about them which enabled them to achieve these things – that is their humanity.”
It’s the great stories that most attract Cumberbatch to these parts. For his role in Creation, it was the intimate friendship between Charles Darwin and Hooker that grabbed him, with the pair having exchanged more than 1200 letters over a period of almost 40 years. In one, for example, Darwin revealed how he was “particularly glad of our discussion after dinner; fighting a battle with you always clears my mind wonderfully”.