Saying the 2010s were a life-changing decade for Benedict Cumberbatch might be an understatement. It was in the last 10 years that his career took an unexpected turn and decided to turn him from a working actor into a Marvel superhero, Oscar nominee, Emmy and BAFTA-winning A-List superstar. Although Benedict is a private person, his personal life seems to have gone the same way: it was on the second half of this decade that Benedict got engaged and married to Sophie Hunter, having three children.
And that’s why we decided to make a Decade in Review. Because this decade was so important to Benedict and he has done and conquered so much that we think it should be celebrated and remembered as it deserves. We’ll focus on the most important bits so the posts won’t get too long, but we hope its intended purposes are met and that we all cherish all those unforgettable moments that probably had been important not only to him but to the fans as well.
It will be divided into two posts. On this one, we’ll cover the first half of the decade, from 2010 to 2014 and talk about his most well-known projects such as Cabin Pressure for the radio; his theatre work in After the Dance and Frankenstein; Parade’s End on TV; Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Imitation Game and that little show called Sherlock. Ready? Let’s start then!
2010 was a pretty busy year, a preview of the years that were about to come. Projects that Benedict had worked on the year before were released, such as Third Star and Van Gogh: Painted with Words. Benedict was also cast in new roles in the now acclaimed movies War Horse and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, both of which were filmed in 2010.
In that year, Benedict continued with his respected career in the British theatre as the lead role in the revival of Terence Rattigan’s famous play After the Dance. The play ran through May to August and was a commercial and critical success, winning several awards including an Olivier Award for Best Revival and with Benedict being nominated for a What’s On Stage Award in the Best Actor category. He also appeared in the new series of the radio comedy Cabin Pressure.
And it was in 2010 that the BBC aired the first series of their new drama. A show in 3 feature-length episodes called Sherlock, an updated version of the books written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock was an instant success in the UK, taking its main actors to stardom.
In between all of this, Benedict also found time to attend many events, such as premieres and opening stores besides posing for many photoshoots in that year. It was official, the Decade of the Cumberbatch had just begun.
2011 started out in the best way possible with Benedict starring alongside Jonny Lee Miller in Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein. The play ran through from February to May at the National Theatre and had both main actors switching characters every night. Meanwhile, Benedict played Martin Crieff once again in the new series of Cabin Pressure, unfortunately missing one episode due to a sore throat.
In May, Benedict came back for the second series of Sherlock, with the cast and crew working on it until August. It was also in May that the show won several BAFTAS.
After that, Benedict filmed Parade’s End, a five-episode miniseries for the BBC, based on the novel by Ford Madox Ford, alongside Rebecca Hall and Adelaide Clemens. Benedict also promoted Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, even going to the Venice International Film Festival to attend both the photocall and the premiere of the movie.
See on the gallery all the appearances and photoshoots from that year.
2012 kicked off in Sherlockian style! The first episode of the second series — the acclaimed A Scandal in Belgravia — aired on New Year’s Day and was one of the most commented topics on the internet. This series of Sherlock ended with the protagonist throwing himself off a building, only to have him showing up alive scenes later. The mystery surrounding how he had done it made the show an international success.
It was also in 2012 that Benedict was cast in the second Star Trek movie directed by J.J Abrams. Apart from the information that the character was a villain, neither the press nor Benedict knew anything about it. The actor, who got the job after recording his audition on an iPhone, only got to know the details of his role after he started shooting the movie. While filming the movie in Los Angeles, Benedict and Jonny Lee Miller won an Olivier Award for their work as Frankenstein, with Miller receiving the award for both of them. After Star Trek, which was his first blockbuster and first main character in a Hollywood movie, Benedict got attached and filmed his small roles in 12 Years A Slave and August: Osage County (a role he also with a self-taped audition) and worked on the motion capture and the voice of the dragon Smaug from the upcoming The Hobbit trilogy.
By the end of the year, he had gotten himself another lead in Hollywood: Julian Assange in DreamWorks’ The Fifth Estate. Movies aside, it was also in 2012 that Parade’s End aired on BBC Two, bringing one of Benedict’s finest performances to date. To this day, Benedict always talks about how his character, Christoper Tietjens, was his favorite and how it inspired him to become a better man. Benedict also got his first Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for Sherlock. The busy boy had time to attend many events, both to have fun and to promote his work. He also posed for many photoshoots in order to promote his first Hollywood movie and his new miniseries. Check them out below.
Welcome to The Year of The Cumberbatch! That’s how the American press described it, with Benedict having not only one or two but FIVE movies coming out that year. 2013 was the year in which Benedict became a Hollywood star and it started with the only way it could’ve started when you’re Benedict Cumberbatch: with him filming The Fifth Estate.
Right after it finished, Benedict traded his Assange white straight hair for Sherlock’s black curls. The filming for the third series of the hit show started in March, pausing in June and starting again in August until September. With the fans paying close attention to the details of the next episodes, Benedict was photographed several times while on set, both by fans and professional photographers.
In May, Star Trek: Into Darkness came out with Benedict playing its main villain John Harrison, which was revealed in the movie that it was actually Khan. And that’s when Hollywood discovered that the Sherlock guy, who happened to have a funny name and a number of fangirls all around the world, was, in fact, an Actor. With a capital A. The most memorable reaction was David Letterman’s, who interviewed Cumberbatch with little to no interest to what his guest had to say but finished the segment with “no offence to the rest of the cast but you don’t need much more than you” after watching a scene of the actor in action. To promote the movie, Benedict attended events and did interviews in London, New York and, a few months later, he went to Japan, where he got a lovely and unforgettable reception by the local media and the fans, with many waiting for him at the airport to welcome him to their country.
The second half of 2013 was no less busy than the first one, quite the contrary. SunnyMarch, the production company founded by him, Adam Ackland, Adam Selves and Ben Dillon, shot its first title, a short thriller called Little Favour, thanks to a crowdfunding campaign. The movie was released months later. After finishing Sherlock, Benedict flew to Toronto to promote all three movies he had playing at the Toronto International Film Festival: The Fifth Estate, 12 Years a Slave and August: Osage County. After attending premieres and press conferences for the first two, he couldn’t stay to promote the third one because he had to fly back to England to start filming his next movie: The Imitation Game.
With the movie featuring his first lead character in a Hollywood production coming out and for being the It Guy of the year in Hollywood, Benedict saw himself on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter’s A-list issue, on the cover of TIME magazine and winning a Brittania Award for British of The Year. The Fifth Estate was released with less than favorable reviews, but his performance was praised by many critics, to the point of the studio releasing an ad for the movie focusing only on him.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, Benedict confirmed he was going back to the theatre for a new adaptation of Hamlet and although details about the play and its venue were still unknown, the actor planned to go back to the stage on the following year.
Benedict also found time to do some voice work for two radio dramas based on novels: he played the Angel Islington on Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, broadcasted on BBC Radio 4, and Werner Heisenberg in Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen, broadcasted on BBC Radio 3.
He finished the year going to Los Angeles and Berlin to promote The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, in which he played Smaug by doing the voice work and motion capture for the character. Check out the photos of these and all the other events plus all the photoshoots below.
It’s official: New Year’s Day is now Sherlock Day, with a new series coming out with an answer to the question: how did Sherlock survive the fall? Of course, with Sherlock being Sherlock, it still had to end in a cliffhanger, leaving us wondering how Moriarty returned.
Meanwhile, Benedict was in Los Angeles, attending many events to promote 12 Years A Slave and August: Osage County, which were both nominated to many awards during the award season. It was in 2014 that Benedict attended the Oscars for the very first time and became one of the most talked-about celebrities of the event on the internet, even without a nomination for himself, only because he… He decided to, you know, photobomb U2 on the red carpet. No big deal.
In the first half of the year, Benedict challenged himself by hosting an Award ceremony (his first time as the host of the Laureus World Sports Awards), stole our hearts showing up at the MET Gala and got himself two new roles: in the movie Black Mass and as Richard III in the second series of The Hollow Crown. He finished that semester attending the Hay Festival with Letters Live and asking Judie Dench to work with him in The Hollow Crown, all of a sudden, right in front of an audience.
July started with Hamlet getting confirmed for August of the following year and with tickets going on sale and selling out in record-breaking time. To promote the third movie of The Hobbit trilogy and Penguins of Madagascar, the actor attended the San Diego Comic Con for the first time and confirmed that yes, he had been approached by Marvel to star in their upcoming movie Doctor Strange, but no, he couldn’t take the role because the movie’s schedule would crash with Hamlet‘s schedule.
In August, Benedict won his first Emmy Award for his performance as Sherlock Holmes in the episode His Last Vow of the third series of the show.
He then had to fly back and forth between the UK and America because he was promoting The Imitation Game and shooting The Hollow Crown at the same time. He promoted the movie for months, going back to Toronto, then attending many events and award ceremonies in Los Angeles, New York and London. In those months, he showed up on the cover of TIME magazine for the second year in a row and won the Best Actor award at the Hollywood Film Awards and a Variety Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Moët British Independent Film Awards. He also attended events to promote Penguins of Madagascar and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
And, to the happiness of many of his real fans, it was published on The Times that Benedict was engaged to actress, playwriter and theatre director Sophie Hunter, a friend of many years with whom he had worked on the 2008 movie Burlesque Fairytales.
Such an incredible year had to finish in the best way possible. It was in December that Marvel Studios announced that Benedict Cumberbatch had been cast as Stephen Strange in Doctor Strange, with the studio postponing the movie for several months to accommodate to the actors’ schedule. In this same month, Cabin Pressure‘s series finale, “Zurich”, was broadcasted on BBC Radio 4 in two parts.
In such a busy year we had many photos from events and photoshoots. You can see them all on the gallery:
And that was the first half of our Decade in Review. Unfortunately, we couldn’t cover many things but we hope you’ve liked it so far. Stay tuned as we are posting the second part in the next few days!