benedict cumberbatch is undoubtedly one of today’s most well-known British actors worldwide. He has starred in many notable works such as The Imitation Gamethe Doctor Strange franchise, and his infamous role as the genius detective, Sherlock Holmes.
However, there are films that might be lesser-known throughout his career compared to the blockbusters he has starred in. Ranking from Van Gogh: Painted With Words to Burlesque Fairytalesthere are some movies you (probably) didn’t know involved benedict cumberbatch.
‘The Fifth Estate’ (2013)
Based on the real-life events of the non-profit organization of WikiLeaks, The Fifth Estate is a dramatic thriller that follows the pursuit of exposing a corrupted world and turning an Internet social climber into becoming one of the most talked-about organizations of the generation.
Julian Assange (benedict cumberbatch) and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Bruhl) formed an alliance. They created an online platform to allow anyone to leak secretive data anonymously and expose high-profile crimes. Things quickly escalate when they access the largest collection of confidential documents in US history.
Despite Eddie Redmayne‘s most well-known portrayal of Stephen Hawking in the 2014 biographical drama The Theory of Everything, benedict cumberbatch has, in 2004, portrayed Stephen Hawking in the self-named BBC TV film, hawking. The film received acclaim for his performance by him as Stephen Hawking and earned him his first nomination for a BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor and Best Single Drama.
In an interview with The Independent, Eddie Redmayne chose not to watch Cumberbatch’s performance in hawking as he heard how “breathtaking” it was and that if he watched it, he’d “try to steal little bits” from him.
‘The Grinch’ (2018)
Many will know about the 2018 Grinch film, adapted from Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! But what many might not know is that benedict cumberbatch was the voice of the Grinch. In an interview with TODAYhe admits to not liking how “growly and angry” the Grinch is portrayed in the Dr.Seuss book and decides to settle for a more joyous tone from “the joy he takes in being the Grinch.”
The film received nominations for many awards, including the Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Animated Film, and Cumberbatch was nominated for the Kids’ Choice Awards’ Favorite Male Voice from an Animated Movie.
‘Starter for 10’ (2006)
One of his earlier acting roles is in the 2006 comedy-drama film, Starter for 10which follows a university student, Brian Jackson (James McAvoy), who secures a spot on the University Challenge quiz team. For those unfamiliar with the premise of University Challenge, it’s a British quiz program that has aired since 1962. It chooses students from different universities throughout the UK to compete against each other until only one university wins.
In this film, Benedict Cumberbatch shows his humorous side as an actor by playing the role of the captain of the quiz team (and remains captain despite never succeeding in the show). He always takes charge of the whole team with a stuck-up attitude and demeanor and is highly competitive. His competitive side of him comes out when delivering his famous line, “let’s take these mothers out.” He also refers to himself as a “floating renaissance man.”
‘August: Osage County’ (2013)
The 2013 tragicomedy film tells the story of three sisters (Julia Roberts, Juliet Lewis, and Julianne Nicholson)who reunite at their mother Violet’s home (meryl streep) upon the death of their father. August: Osage Country is based on Tracy Letts‘Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name.
benedict cumberbatch plays the role of “Little Charles,” the cousin of the three daughters. One of the daughters, Ivy (Julianne Nicholson), falls in love with “Little Charles.” “Little Charles” mother, Mattie Fae (margo martindale), later confesses to having an affair with Violet’s husband, Beverly (sam shepard), which makes “Little Charles” not just the cousin to Ivy but also her step-brother.
‘Stuart: A Life Backwards’ (2007)
Based on the true story of author Alexander Masters‘ friend Stuart Clive Shorter who was a prisoner and career criminal. The book explores the life of Stuart, who was mentally unstable and became violent and eventually homeless on the streets of Cambridge.
Masters’ interview with The Guardian reveals that Stuart suggested the book format be written backward: “How did I get to be like this? What murdered the little boy I was? Cumberbatch played the role of the author Alexander Masters alongside Tom Hardy as Stuart Shorter.
‘Van Gogh: Painted with Words’ (2010)
Van Gogh: Painted with Words is a drama-documentary with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the lead role of Vincent van Gogh. Every spoken dialogue in the docu-drama is taken directly from the artist’s letters from him to his brother from him. The film focuses on the personal life of the famous Dutch painter, and it won awards for its unique storytelling and for giving him a deep insight into his life.
The project falls between fact and fiction. It is a drama and documentary; Cumberbatch breaks the fourth wall by acknowledging the camera, but the subject is not Van Gogh himself. It is also highly dramatized and shot like a film.
‘Burlesque Fairytales’ (2009)
This British thriller film gives the audience a surreal experience at the fictional Chapel Theater in the 1930s. When the audience arrives, the doors shut, and suddenly none of the audience knows how they got there in the first place; they are trapped inside. The film progresses in real-time, and the stage plays out five fairytales, with each fairytale telling an important message to the audience.
The film uses the stage, animation, and physical giant set pieces playing inside the theater to create an authentic, one-of-a-kind approach to storytelling. The audience is left wondering how to escape the theater. benedict cumberbatch plays the role of the father, Henry Clark. The film was shot in 19 days (but spread over two years) at Pinewood Studios.
In this 2009 British biographical film, Paul Bettany plays the role of biologist Charles Darwin. The film focuses on his relationship with his wife Emma Darwin (Jennifer Connelly) and daughter Annie (Martha West) and his struggles to write his revolutionary book On the Origin of Species. Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly are a real-life couple. benedict cumberbatch plays the role of Joseph Dalton Hookerwho was Charles Darwin’s closest friend and a British botanist and explorer.
‘Third Star’ (2010)
A young man, James (benedict cumberbatch), who is terminally ill with cancer, goes on a last adventure to one of his favorite places — Barafundle Bay. He goes on his last trip with his three best friends of him, Davy, Miles, and Bill (Tom Burke, JJ Fieldand adam robertson). They experience a few setbacks and accidents along the way, such as James’ random outbursts towards his friends from him, losing his medications and supplies, and his special cart from him, which he needs due to his declining condition from him.
They tell each other secrets in their (unknown to them) last heartfelt trip shared between four friends. The heartbreaking ending shows the struggles of those diagnosed with a terminal illness and what friendship means. Cynthia Citron from Santa Monica Daily Press calls the film “an absorbing, moving, and captivating experience.”
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