The unknown side of Cumberbatch: he speaks five languages, loves extreme sports and is a philanthropist

Benedict Cumberbatch posing for the American Film Institute, in March this year in Beverly Hills, California) REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

British actor Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch has a name as original as his life. The actor who has given life to Doctor Strange since 2016, now with the premiere of the second installment, the multiverse of madness, It is on the lips of many moviegoers. Is that the film is a resounding success in Argentina. It outperformed the rest of the films released this year at the box office.

At 45 years old, and at the height of his career, little is known about his private life. He is quite reserved. His elegant demeanor is not just a posture. He is a descendant of diplomats and also received a high quality education. His great-grandfather, Henry Arnold Cumberbatch, was the British Consul General in Turkey. His grandfather, Henry Carlton Cumberbatch, was a submarine officer. who was decorated in both world wars, as well as being a figure of London high society.

Benedict was born in Hammersmith, on the outskirts of London. Son of actors Timothy Carlton (who did not use the second surname for his career) and Wanda Ventham appeared in magazines with a few months of life. His prestigious schools were paid for by his grandmother, first at Brambletye School in West Sussex and then at Harrow School in North West London, where he majored in art. During those years he participated in several works of Shakespeare. He made his acting debut at the age of 12, playing Titania, the Fairy Queen, in a Summer night Dreama five-act comedy written in 1595.

An image that traveled the world, Benedict Cumberbatch came running to the Los Angeles premiere of the film in which he stars, Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madness (REUTERS / Mario Anzuoni / File Photo)
An image that traveled the world, Benedict Cumberbatch came running to the Los Angeles premiere of the film in which he stars, Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madness (REUTERS / Mario Anzuoni / File Photo)

After completing his studies, Benedict, a Buddhist, took a sabbatical year to teach English at a Tibetan monastery. Since then, he learned to meditate and never stopped doing it. Later, he went to the University of Manchester, where he graduated with a degree in drama and continued his training as an actor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

Few know it, but languages ​​are part of another of Cumberbatch’s unknown talents. He is a true polyglot. He is fluent in five languages: Japanese, German, Chinese, Portuguese and Greek. It is strange that he has not yet been called to film in other languages.

For his talent and perfectionism, throughout his career as an actor garnered several awards. One is a Laurence Olivier by Frankensteinthe classic novel by Mary Shelley that she presented at the National Theater in London in 2011. Alongside Jonny Lee Miller, the roles were swapped between the Dr. and his monstrous creation. The play adapted by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, The Beach, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire) was filmed and screened in theaters around the world, where it was all the rage. It had more than 800 thousand spectators.

About the adaptation with which he won the award, he said: “It is centered on the creature, in the sense that it narrates the extraordinary journey of a man who is resurrected after dying in his mid-thirties and must learn to be human again” . And also, she added, it’s about the dangers of “a male ego loose in the world.”

Alongside Jonny Lee Miller, the roles were swapped between Dr. Frankenstein and his monstrous creation.  It was a play that ended up being shown in theaters
Alongside Jonny Lee Miller, the roles were swapped between Dr. Frankenstein and his monstrous creation. It was a play that ended up being shown in theaters

For the quality of acting in the series Sherlock (2010-2017) he received numerous awards: Emmy, Bafta, Critics Choice. The BBC series elevated him to mega star status and he was a springboard to becoming Dr. Strange in the world of Marvel. A curiosity of that series is that he had the pleasure of working with his parents Timothy and Wanda, who played the parents of his character. Arthur Conan Doyle’s work was a successful reinterpretation that transported the famous detective and his friend Watson (Martin Freeman) to today’s times. Many consider the series as addictive.

It is also worth noting how Cumberbatch put the body to the detective, since he did action scenes without using doubles. Like, for example, throwing himself on his back from a crane to show a spectacular fall. Fear does not have. He is passionate about extreme sports, including skydiving, diving and snowboarding. At the beginning of the series, the creators of Sherlock believed that the shape of his nose did not respond to the style of the detective. The actor counteracted that “wrong image” with a vengeance.

Dr. Strange has super powers due to his psychic resources. The actor has other less spectacular but valuable talents that set him apart from the rest: his strong social commitment. In 2015 he received from Queen Elizabeth II a medal as Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services “to acting and philanthropy” during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London. One of the reasons is associated with his great interpretation of the character of Alan Turing, the mathematician who deciphered Nazi codes during World War II and tragically lost his life a few years after being prosecuted for homosexuality, in 1952.

Cumberbatch, in 2015, displays the medal presented to him by Queen Elizabeth II for services to art and philanthropy.  That year he also became a father for the first time (Photo by Anthony Devlin-WPA Pool / Getty Images)
Cumberbatch, in 2015, displays the medal presented to him by Queen Elizabeth II for services to art and philanthropy. That year he also became a father for the first time (Photo by Anthony Devlin-WPA Pool / Getty Images)

Benedict is a staunch supporter of the LGBTQ community. In 2013 he officiated at the wedding of two of his friends in Ibiza. He also supports gender equality with much more than speeches. He assured that he will not work in movies in which his co-star earns less than him. Among other actions, he participated in the short film help is on the wayintended to raise funds for Syrian refugee children by reciting a heart-rending poem: “Nobody leaves their home unless they live in the mouth of a shark… you have to understand that nobody puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.”

The body that served to give life to such intelligent characters as the astrophysicist Hawking, the mathematician Turing and the computer scientist Julian Assange, had to be completely transformed to embody Dr. Strange. Now this man who measures 1.83 meters, can be seen with marked muscles. Has a female fan club calling itself the Cumberbitches (Cumberperras). Much to his regret, because he is quite a gentleman. Dr. Strange co-star Rachel McAdams told Ellen DeGeneres on her show what the actor thought of her fan club name. “Oh, that’s very flattering, but I wish they’d call themselves something more respectable like Cumberhumans. Too much fun,” she replied to her castmate. DeGeneres was quick to point out that his suggestion didn’t mesh with the final batch. “He understands that? That is the point”, concluded the North American humorist.

Official trailer for Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Her personal life keeps her safe. He had a 12-year relationship with actress Olivia Poulet, whom he met at the University of Manchester. They ended in 2011. His current partner and mother of his three children is Sophie Hunter, actress, singer and opera and theater director. They had met in 2009 while filming Burlesque Fairytales, a movie set in the 1930s. But back then, he was with Poulet. Four years later they met again and he no longer had any commitments.

It is said that Benedict asked for his fiancee’s hand, with all the formalities. They married in 2015, on Valentine’s Day, in an intimate ceremony on the Isle of Wight, in the south of England. On June 1, their first child, Christopher Carlton, was born. In 2017 they had a second son, Hal Auden. And in 2019, the third came, Finn.

Along with his wife and mother of his children, Sophie Hunter during the BAFTA awards ceremony, in March 2022 (REUTERS / Henry Nicholls)
Along with his wife and mother of his children, Sophie Hunter during the BAFTA awards ceremony, in March 2022 (REUTERS / Henry Nicholls)

Everything seems to be going smoothly in his life, however, he lived through an extreme situation that left him marked forever. When I was filming in 2005 in Saint Lucia, South Africa shooting the series To the ends of the Earth, it was kidnapped. He was walking with two co-workers on a quiet route until a tire blew out. When they got off, about 6 men held them back. Benedict’s hands were tied with shoelaces and he was placed inside the trunk. In an interview with the Daily Star he recounted in detail: “I argued my escape.” I told them: ‘If you leave me here, it is not because of the lack of air, but because of the small space. I have a problem with my heart and my brain. I’m going to die, possibly have a seizure and it will be a problem for you. I’ll be a dead Englishman in your car. Nothing good,” he asserted. The man closed the trunk, had an argument, and then took it out. “That taught me that you come into the world as you left it, on your own. It made me want to have a less ordinary life.”

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