BWW Profile: Benedict Cumberbatch Emmy-Nominated Star of Stage and Screen
In anticipation of the live 66th Annual Emmy Award broadcast on NBC on Monday, August 25th, BWW will be spotlighting the Emmy nominated TV performances of some of Broadway's biggest stars. If you want to follow along and interact with all of BroadwayWorld's Emmy coverage, check out #BWWEmmys on Twitter.
Though only 38 years old, British actor Benedict Cumberbatch has already amassed an impressive list of credits on stage, on television, and on the big screen. Though he has yet to grace a Broadway stage, I have a feeling that that is just an eventuality as his popularity continues to grow on this side of the Atlantic. Today we are taking a look at his career from the British stage in "Hedda Gabler," "After the Dance," and "Frankenstein;" to his work on film in "12 Years a Slave," "August: Osage County," and "Star Trek: Into Darkness;" to his iconic performance on TV as the "high-functioning sociopath" titular-character on the BBC's "Sherlock," for which he is nominated a second time, in addition to his 2013 nomination for HBO's "Parade's End."
Cumberbatch came to fame in the United States playing a modern Sherlock Holmes on the BBC series beginning in 2010. Benedict stars as the famous detective opposite Dr. John Watson, played by Martin Freeman, another British star of stage and screen who has seen his status skyrocket since the series debuted. The format of "Sherlock" is a little unusual for American viewers; each season (or series as they are called in the UK) is comprised of three 90-minute episodes. Between the first three seasons, there has been either 16 or 24 months between runs, with Season 4 currently in preparation. There will be a full-length special episode shot in early 2015 to tide fans over until the three-episode full season can be scheduled amidst the stars' movie schedules. Ironically, given the format of both "Sherlock" and FX's "Fargo," Cumberbatch is going up against Freeman in the ridiculously competitive Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie category. Though Cumberbatch is nominated for the third Season 3 episode 'His Last Vow," the Best Man's speech he delivers at Watson's wedding in the second episode, "The Sign of Three," is enough to bring a tear to the eye of even the most emotionally detached narcissist.
Though most American fans only became familiar with Benedict from "Sherlock," he was a highly regarded stage actor for nearly a decade before joining the BBC's show. After years of performing Shakespeare and other classics, in 2005, Cumberbatch was nominated for an Olivier Award for his portrayal of George in the West End production of "Hedda Gabler." After leading the Olivier-winning revival of "After the Dance" in 2010, the next year he starred in Danny Boyle's revolutionary production of "Frankenstein." In the play, he alternated playing Victor and the Creature each performance with co-star Johnny Lee Miller. Ironically, Miller would be cast as Sherlock Holmes in CBS' modern-day take on the detective, "Elementary," the following year. For his performance, Cumberbatch not only took home the Olivier, but also the prestigious Evening Standard and Critics' Circle Theatre Awards. Just a few weeks ago, it was announced that in 2015, Cumberbatch will take on the most prestigious role in the English language when he plays Hamlet at the Barbican Theatre in London. The entire 14-week run sold out in just minutes.