Clearing up Benedict Cumberbatch’s busy schedule

Feature Mark Harrison 29 Oct 2013 - 06:36

Star Wars? Sherlock? Doctor Who? The Imitation Game? We dig through Benedict Cumberbatch rumours to find out what he's actually up to.

This article contains a spoiler for Star Trek Into Darkness.

What is Benedict Cumberbatch working on at the moment? If you believe every single news story, rumour and bit of scrawled bathroom graffiti that you read, the more apropos question would be “What isn’t Benedict Cumberbatch working on at the moment?”

The actor has had a meteoric rise to fame in the last few years, going from antagonising James McAvoy in both Starter For Ten and Atonement, to pretty much dominating the casting rumour mill every time there’s an opening for an erudite and intelligent character.

Attracting a sizeable fanbase as he's done so, he’s probably done more to make smart look sexy than any of his peers in the industry. And while he’s been fairly shrewd in his choices, working with Chris Morris one minute and Tomas Alfredson the next, he usually comes out of everything smelling like roses. Reviewers have even widely agreed that his performance as Julian Assange is the best thing about The Fifth Estate, a film that has received middling reviews at best, and a whole heap of critical vitriol to boot.

But given the actor’s proclivity towards geeky projects, we’ve decided that enough is too much, and it’s time to clear up some of the stuff that’s been coming out of the rumour mill in the last few months.

Just for added fun, we’re going to make use of the excellent Benedict Cumberbatch name generator (hours of fun!) throughout the rest of this article, to see if anyone notices. This may seem slightly childish, but it just came up with Bendydick Calldispatch, so it's somewhat hard to resist. You can find the name generator yourself right here.

What is Bentobox Curdlesnoot doing next?

Before we get into the fabulous bunkum, let’s have a quick look at the next films in which he’ll definitely appear. First up is The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, which is due in cinemas worldwide this Christmas, and features double the Brandybuck Cogglesnatch for your money.

Primarily, he’s doing motion-capture and voice work for Smaug, the titular dragon who was glimpsed at the very end of last December’s An Unexpected Journey. Sherlock fans can anticipate an unusual reunion with Martin Freeman, in Bilbo Baggins’ big setpiece encounter with Smaug.

However, there’s also another, less obvious Cumberbatch role. This character, the Necromancer of Dol Guldur, was briefly glimpsed in An Unexpected Journey - Tolkien aficionados will know that he’s better known as Sauron, and it looks like the Necromancer will shape up to be the Bigger Bad of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, after Smaug.

Around the same time, or shortly thereafter, Quaddlebotch and Freeman will be teaming up again for the third series of Sherlock on BBC One. When we left it, Sherlock had faked his own death, leaving Watson distraught.

It’s currently speculated that the third series of adventures, starting with Mark Gatiss’ The Empty Hearse, will air around New Year’s Day, so that would be a double dose of Cumberbatch-Freeman chemistry around the end of 2013. If nothing else, it’ll be interesting to see if/how slash fan writers can stretch to Bilbo/Smaug fics.

Outside of geek properties, we quite fancy his chances of being nominated for an Oscar in the next year or two. He appears as a slave-owner and Baptist preacher in the universally acclaimed 12 Years A Slave and is also tipped for recognition for his leading role in Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County. Both films are due in UK cinemas in January.

He’s also shown a penchant for playing real-life figures, (Hawking, Assange and Van Gogh, to name but a few) which is set to continue in the long-gestating Alan Turing biopic, The Imitation Game, and in his role as explorer Percy Fawcett in The Lost City Of Z.

Any film of Turing’s story should have “Oscars” written all over it, but there’s plenty to be excited about in the latter too. Fawcett was one of the figures who inspired George Lucas to create Indiana Jones, and James Gray’s film will chronicle the explorer’s foolhardy hunt for the city of El Dorado - depending on the tone, there could be some potential for a real historical adventure movie here.

And finally, quite apart from all of the other confirmed Beetleborg Capncrunch projects, is The Penguins Of Madagascar, the DreamWorks Animation spin-off, in which he’ll be voicing an animal operative of the CIA. We’re actually quite excited about the penguins getting their own movie, on the strength of their appearances in the Madagascar movies, so there’s another cool choice of project.

What isn’t Dinglebat Grumpybitch doing next?

Curiously, for as many rumours emerge about this particular actor’s future projects, there are few denials coming out of Cumberbatch’s camp. At the same time as there’s no such thing as bad publicity for a working actor, there have still been a couple of rumours and stories laid to rest.

Guillermo del Toro’s next horror thriller, Crimson Peak, had Cumberbatch signed up to star alongside Emma Stone, as husband and wife. As Stone left the production due to a scheduling conflict, speculation abounded that a similar conflict had kept Cumberbatch away when he quit, two months later.

There’ll be more about the Star Wars speculation below, because the actor has strenuously denied that he fled Guillermo in order to go to a galaxy far, far away.

"Absolutely not,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “That was nothing to do with it at all. [It was] between me and Guillermo, to be honest. It was amicable, and that's all I'm going to say.”

It would also appear that a much desired appearance in Steven Moffat's other flagship show, Doctor Who, is now out of the question. When rumours of Cumberbatch being cast as the Master proved to have been exaggerated, there was speculation that he was actually after the title role.

After Matt Smith's departure was announced, he was a hot favourite, but in a later interview, the actor clarified that he had talked to his friend, David Tennant, the last time the keys to the TARDIS were up for grabs: “David and I talked about it but I thought it would have to be radically different. And anyway I didn’t really like the whole package – being on school lunchboxes.”

While we're on iconic British roles, Cumberbatch is a self-professed fan of James Bond, and has repeatedly been mooted for a role in the untitled 24th Bond movie, due in cinemas in 2015. But the “scoop” that he was playing Blofeld was knocking about before Skyfall came out, and hasn't surfaced since, although some still say he'd be as good a candidate for 007 himself.

Crimson Peak is going ahead with Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska in the lead roles, Peter Capaldi will play the Twelfth Doctor and Daniel Craig looks comfy in Bond’s tux for at least the new two films - never mind, eh? We think there’s quite enough on Beetleborg Wafflesmack’s plate, even without all of the unconfirmed rumours about him…

What might Boobytrap Gigglesnort be doing next?

Now, undoubtedly the biggest question mark over Cumberbatch's next career move is whether or not he'll be cast in JJ Abrams' Star Wars Episode VII. His name has come up in connection with the new movie, almost as much as those of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford.

Notably, both he and Ford were tight-lipped during their recent appearance on The Graham Norton Show, in which both actors had altogether too much fun in neither confirming nor denying their involvement. There may be nothing to it after all, but Abrams may well think of his Khan Noonien Singh from Star Trek Into Darkness when casting an antagonist for the new Star Wars trilogy - we're sure to have some official casting announcements before the year is out.

On the topic of Khan, isn't it possible that Khan may return in a third Star Trek film? He's certainly still alive, albeit on ice, at the end of Into Darkness, and after being reintroduced via a mash-up of Space Seed and Wrath Of Khan, who's to say that the filmmakers won't come back to his character at some point? That's not necessarily on our wishlist for the next Trek movie by any means, but that door is still open.

There also seems to be more life in his version of Holmes, even beyond Sherlock's third series. When his lead actor seemed to confirm a fourth series at the South Bank Show Awards this year, executive producer Steven Moffat joked: "We were all in a state of shock at BBC drama. If everyone wants to do it there will be a fourth."

To once again venture outside of geekier prospects, it's also worth noting that Gary Oldman will soon be returning to the director's chair for the first time since 1997's Nil By Mouth, and it's rumoured that he'll be casting his Tinker Tailor co-star in a supporting role in Flying Horse, his biopic of the photographer Eadweard Muybridge.

For as long as his popularity continues unabated, there’s sure to be plenty more rumour and speculation surrounding the career of Benedict Cumberbatch (oh wait, that’s the real one.) Leave your comments below if there’s a perfect role for him that hasn’t yet been suggested, or if we’ve missed any rumours that you’ve heard about, over the course of the last few years.

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What about Cabin Pressure?! That's my favourite series that he's in, and they left it on a cliffhanger as to whether he'd return or not... Are they going to squeeze it into his schedule??

And if they are going to bring Khan back in Star Trek, can they at least bring in Roger Allam as one of his brothers?

I know Benedict has done more than his share of biopics in the last years, but I would absolutely love to see him as Erol Flynn. No idea if anyone's ever considered doing a movie on his life, but...

Some (or most) will roll their eyes at this suggestion but I would love to see him do a biopic on Marc Chagall. Benedict did such an amazing job as Vincent vanGogh. Chagall's life was fascinating and full of adventure, colour, and history (not to mention his amazing love story with his wife Bella!) The opportunity to convey simultaneously the timelessness of traditional Jewish life and a dark foreboding prompted by the existential reality of East European Jewry in the 1930's.

Well, he's already missed one episode where they had someone else stand in for him, including"your voice has changed" references..
I don't think he's in it for the money, so expect he'd do more R4 stuff if he could, but there's only so many hours in the day...

Yes we need the Z episode otherwise I may just cry in a corner for a while or write my own ending!

He missed that one because he had caught pneumonia. Fyi...

Heard on IMDB that he was to play Mallory. From the jungle to Everest, it seems... ;)

He is nowhere near tough enough to play James Bond.

'Original' (Connery) Bond was not tough at all, he was suave. Canklesnork will be EXCELLENT at this. Yes he will.

Excellent use of the Benedict Cumberbatch Name Generator here. Most excellent.

You didn't mention Little Favour???

I would love to see a true version of the Scarlet Pimpernel with Benedict as Sire Percy Blakeny. He'd be perfection!

Not tough enough? His Khan was bad ass and Sherlock is too! He'd be an amazing Bond!

Also, I'd love to see him as Fred Astaire.

Sometimes it feels like it would be easier to just list things he isn't appearing in. :P

But seriously, the man has been unbelievably prolific. Let's just hope they won't overwork him.

Connery not tough? Go watch the bts footage of his Bond fighting scenes.
Cucumbersnitch on the other hand is not the right type of suave to play Bond.

I just remember him getting whooped A LOT. But he definitely wasn't a total wimp, just not the 'gritty' fighter Bond that Craig is.

I've taken to calling him Sheridan Bucket.

Connery was tough as nails in the filming of those fight scenes , which were, very physical and demanding and quite daring for that time. Relative to the younger Craig and the choreography of the modern times I would say Craig just barely beats him.

"it’ll be interesting to see if/how slash fan writers can stretch to Bilbo/Smaug fics."

...if?

Cabin Pressure series five please!!!!

Khan wasn't tough, you think?

I think people will think differently of Benny Boo Boo once his short film "Little Favour" debuts on iTunes. That is quite action-packed. I don't think we've really -seen- Benny Boo Boo's capabilities when working in action-scenes, and handling the level that Craig deals with in the Bond movies. I think he'd be amazing in those roles, and he has put out there that it's something he wants to pursue too. Seriously though, Benedict is a super talented actor, and it'll be awesome to see what comes his way in regards to his career.

Either him or Tom Hiddleston would be amazing as Erol Flynn

He wouldn't play Bond, but a Bond villain.

I never knew how badly I wanted this.

Cannot stand cumberbatch. He's overrated, can't act and is so wooden as Sherlock it's ridiculous. Oh, he also looks like a pitbull.

Ohmigosh I want him to play Mr. Darcy soooooo bad!!! :O Also he'd be a freaking INCREDIBLE James Bond!!! ^_^ Can you say 00SEXAY!?!? ;) I bet you anything he ends up as a Sith in Star Wars too!!!! ;) SO proud of my beautiful Ben for his magnificent acting prowess, and his knack for choosing incredible roles!!! ^_^ <3 <3 <3

ajkshjdhkjhjdfhhjfhfe *gasp!* I'm sorry but...... Benedict is the very DEFINITION of suave!!!! :O He has the charm, the acting prowess, the action skills, and the intelligence, EVERYTHING it takes to be the best Bond EVER!!! :O

*blinks repeatedly* :O :O :O I can't even comprehend the ridiculousness of these words!!! Benedict is THE most talented, incredulously handsome, and infinitely GENIUS actor of our time!!! :O I'm struggling to even respond, so I'll use a very fitting quote from Sherlock.
"Don't talk out loud, you lower the IQ of the whole street!" ;)

Ok ok he is SUAVE and he has all the skills, I just don't see him as Bond. He does not seem like the Secret Agent with a license to kill type to me. He seems a bit too educated for that.

This is out in left field but my brother and I were talking about which actors could play Marvel superheroes, the ones that don't have movies yet, and I think Benedict Cumberbatch would be perfect to play Dr. Strange. He'd could rock a goatee and Dr. Strange is all about intelligence and mind power;) This needs to happen!!!!!!!

I think he would be better used as a villain, unless they go to bond in a later time. I cant see him playing a young newish bond, plus Craig
is doing much to well at the moment

The way that he and Harrison Ford have carefully NOT denied being in Star Wars speaks volumes. Whenever an actor is in talks or cast but can't confirm it, they use special wording to not say yes or no. If they are definitely out, they will just say no.

Well, I disagree, and I'd say, listen to the radio play in which he plays the young Rumpole and watch the TV bio he did of Stephen Hawking. He also has the most powerful emotional moment in the Tinker Tailor movie, and it is just a moment, but it stays with you.

I really love Benedict Cumberbatch. He is an amazing actor and is so versatile. To me it's not about weather he is tough or bad ass.. I think Mr. Cumberbatch definitely has both of those things in him. However, I just couldn't see him as James Bond. May be as a villain, but not at Bond himself. I would LOVE to see him as a Sith Lord in the next Star Wars movie however that would be awesome!.

He'd be a magnificent Darcy I agree..... Colin Firth's worthy heir.

oh and also a great Rochester....mmmm

test 123

Mr. C. is the rarest of actors--a Swan. He's the quintessence of elegance and not born to play the common man. He reminds me a bit of Peter O'Toole -- strong angular bone structure of the face. An L of A remake (perhaps as a TV series) would be well-served with BC playing Lawrence.

And BC reminds me even more of another English actor, perhaps not well known today: does anyone remember Ronald Coleman? A true gentleman of the silver screen, and there are several similarities: both upper class, elite schools, wanted to be barristers, deep lustrous voices. Coleman's roles emphasized his intelligence, breeding, sheer classiness. Prisoner of Zenda, Lost Horizon...they could all be remade with Benedict C.

And how about a re-make of The Razor's Edge w/BC in the Tyrone Power role?
Benedict can capture the aethereal benevolence required to make that role shine.

I agree that BC would make a smashing Bond. True, he doesn't have quite the virility of Connery/Craig, but that only means he would play the part in a different key. Perhaps colder, intenser, a tightly-coiled serpentine menace??

YESSSSSSS!!! ^_^ Precisely!!! I, myself, ADORED Mathew McFadden in the role, but I think Ben would be even better!!! ;) He was BORN to play Darcy, it's BEGGING to be done!!! Also it would be so cool for Benedict to be Colin Firth's successor because they both did Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy together, and Colin adored him like a son! ^_^ <3 <3 <3

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