Benedict Cumberbatch Reveals That He Was Late to His First ‘War Horse’ Meeting With Steven Spielberg

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape.  You don’t spit into the wind.  You don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger.  And if you’re an actor, you definitely don’t show up late to a meeting with Steven Spielberg.

English actor Benedict Cumberbatch has found himself in high demand, especially since he started appearing on Sherlock as the titular master detective in 2010.  Not only did he appear in two critically acclaimed films this year — Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and War Horse — and over the next two years he’ll appear in The Hobbit films as the voice of the villainous Necromancer and the dragon Smaug and as the as-yet-unknown main villain in the next Star Trek film.

But Cumberbatch almost jeopardized that bright future by showing up late to a meeting with Steven Spielberg, director of War Horse.

“I couldn’t find a parking space and I couldn’t put my motorbike in a parking bay around the corner,” Cumberbatch tells the Belfast Telegraph— instantly scoring some major awesome points by driving a motorbike — “I thought I’d have to just walk in or I would be very late. But when I did, I was told the meeting was earlier, so I went in there going, ‘Gosh, the first time I am meeting Spielberg and I’m apologising for being late!'” 

Cumberbatch was worried, and began to panic a bit.  He explains, “I thought, ‘My mother is right, I do have a problem’.”  However, Spielberg was more forgiving than Cumberbatch’s mother.   “When I explained myself to him, he was fine with it. He was lovely, just lovely.”

Surprisingly, the busy Cumberbatch was actually considering taking a break when he got the call for Spielberg — a vacation he obviously put on hold.  On deciding to take the role, he says, “It’s a dream. It sounds like a cliche, saying ‘I’ll do that unless Spielberg calls’, and I had literally said that about taking a break and a week later, I had to eat my words.  Nobody will believe me, but there we are.”

Let’s hope that Cumberbatch has a bit more luck parking his motorbike when he goes to the studios for Star Trek 2 and The Hobbit.