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/2014/11/sag-foundation-conversation-with.jpg
SAG Foundation Conversation with the Cast of NBC’s ‘Marry Me’
Earlier this month NBC put in an order for five additional episodes of its freshman romantic comedy series, Marry Me. While that isn’t exactly the shot of confidence that a full-season renewal provides, it’s enough to keep fans of the comedy — which is about an engaged couple who are determined to get married despite […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/michael-caine.jpg
Michael Caine Talks About Acting With Your Eyes and Does an Amazing Cold Read of a Script
This week acting legend Michael Caine appears in his sixth film directed by Christopher Nolan, Interstellar. In an interview clip from The New York Times that was shot around the release of the last movie Caine worked on with Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises, reporter Melena Ryzik spoke to Caine about his six-decade career. In […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/director-dan-gilroy-narrates-a-s.jpg
Director Dan Gilroy Narrates a Scene from ‘Nightcrawler’ Featuring Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo
Nightcrawler is easily one of the best movies of the year and its star, Jake Gyllenhaal, is outstanding. Definitely check this out when you have a chance. In the above clip, writer/director Dan Gilroy narrates a sequence from the film that features Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo. He talks about giving Gyllenhaal a small piece of […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/matthew-mcconaughey-talks-losing.png
Matthew McConaughey Talks Losing the Lead Role in ‘Bernie’ to Jack Black
Though Matthew McConaughey has increased his earned plenty of respect since he started taking on more substantive movie roles in the last few years (with Dallas Buyers Club even earning him an Oscar for Best Actor), one director that always has been a fan of McConaughey is Richard Linklater. Linklater gave McConaughey his first big […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/watch-benedict-cumberbatch-film.jpg
Watch: Benedict Cumberbatch Film the Smaug Motion Capture for ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’
Though Peter Jackson‘s movie adaptations of The Hobbit haven’t received the same critical acclaim as his films based on the book’s sequel, The Lord of the Rings (turning a 300 page book into 9+ hours of film tends to do that), fans are still eagerly anticipating the release of the final part of The Hobbit […]