Benedict Cumberbatch on His Acting Parents, His Legal Beginnings and How He’s Most Like ‘Sherlock’

benedict-cumberbatchThough Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch is the son of two actors, he didn’t come around to deciding to become an actor until his college years. 

In an interview with NPR, Cumberbatch talks about how he began to pursue acting and the influence his parents had on his career choice.

Cumberbatch’s parents are both actors, and they had enough success to pay the bills but not enough to encourage their son to pursue a career in acting.  He reveals, “My mum and dad had worked incredibly hard to afford me an education.  I had the privilege of being able to choose, or at least have the opportunity to work at, being anything but an actor.” 

In fact, Cumberbatch initially studied to become a lawyer.  But Cumberbatch, who dreamed of becoming an actor, soon discovered that succeeding in the legal profession hinged on luck to the same degree that acting does.  He explains, “As I was learning to be a barrister and choosing my levels around potentially doing Oxbridge and … all the rest of it, I just encountered loads of other people on the same course who said it’s so much down to chance and luck. And I thought, ‘Well, why am I giving up on my primary dream to work doubly hard to do something as an alternative to what I really still want to do?'”

Once he acted in a production of Amadeus, his parents accepted his change of heart.  He says, “My father … turned to me and he said, ‘You’re better than I ever was or could be. You should do this for a profession — I think you’d have a good time.’ And that’s a huge thing for a man to say to his son, and — not necessarily true, I might add, he’s a wonderful actor himself — but it was so encouraging and supportive.”  He admits that having that validation gave him the courage to pursue his acting career, saying, “It was always important to have their blessing, and one of the reasons I get up in the morning is to make them proud.”

Of course, like most parents Cumberbatch’s remain concerned about him.  In particular, his mother worries about the irritability that comes out of playing Sherlock Holmes.  He says, “I can be bit irate or impatient at times, and my mum worries sometimes I might be turning into him. [Sometimes] I can sort of see the picture of what’s in front of me and expect everyone else to get it as fast as I do.”

Still, I’m sure Cumberbatch’s parents are far happier with his chosen profession.  After all, is the world worse off with one less lawyer?  It certainly would be without an actor like Cumberbatch!

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/alex-sharp-curious-incident-of-the-dog.jpg
Alex Sharp Talks About His Broadway Debut in ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ (video)
Alex Sharp went from working in a call-center and renovating houses to going to Julliard. And now, he’s starring in one of the most talked about shows of the season, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Check out this great, inspiring video!
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Its-only-a-play.jpg
Watch a Scene From Terrance McNally’s, ‘It’s Only a Play’, Featuring Nathan Lane and Micah Stock
Here’s a quick scene from Terrance McNally‘s It’s Only a Play, currently on Broadway at the Schoenfeld Theater. In this scene, Nathan Lane and Micah Stock meet for the first time. The show, about the opening night of a new play, also stars Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing, F. Murray Abraham, Rupert Grint and Megan Mullally.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/birdman-director-alejandro-g-ina.jpg
‘Birdman’ Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu Narrates a Scene from the Film Featuring Michael Keaton and Edward Norton
Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu narrates a scene from Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance that features stars Michael Keaton and Edward Norton. The film is wonderful and if it’s playing in your town, definitely check it out!
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/the-cast-of-mad-men-on-the-final.jpg
The Cast of ‘Mad Men’ on the Final Season and More
Though the AMC television series Mad Men might not carry the same cultural weight that it did a few years ago (splitting your final season over two years might do that to you), the second half of the show’s final season is expected to be full of powerful performances from its ensemble cast. With the […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/behind-the-scenes-of-a-sex-scene.jpg
Behind the Scenes of a Sex Scene with Patrick Wilson, Brooklyn Decker and Director Joe Carnahan
Director Joe Carnahan is giving viewers an inside look at what it is like to film a big screen Hollywood sex scene, as confirmed by Gawker. Carnahan released a brief video clip taken from the set of his latest film Stretch starring supermodel and actress Brooklyn Decker and Patrick Wilson. The video showcases the two […]