Fans of Masterpiece Mystery’s Sherlock, the hit PBS series about the famous master detective set in modern times, were camped out at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena last week. They were there to get a glimpse of the star of the show, and Benedict Cumberbatch gave them all an experience they will long remember.
At first the adoring crowd saw Cumberbatch race by because he was late for the Sherlock press conference for the Television Critics Association. The actor noted he felt guilty doing that, but told them, “I’m on a tight schedule. I’ve got to come back and see you later.” He promised to return after he finished all his interviews in about three hours. Everyone stayed and they were happy they did. Cumberbatch signed autographs and posed for pictures, chatting with everyone expressing love for the adventures of the super-sleuth.
He modestly noted that he believes his popularity is due to that fact that he’s playing an iconic figure. Cumberbatch explained, “I think a lot of it comes with who he (Sherlock) is. It’s kind of extraordinary and a little bit unnerving. I feel — not an onerous sense of responsibility, but I do feel that that has to be acknowledged. I know that feeds the thing itself, but at the same time, I’m a human being. As much as I’m capable of, I’ve got to acknowledge with gratitude the fact that they are so supportive, loyal, and by in large, intelligent, and some of them normal, and committed to something that I really love doing and a character that I like playing, and other characters as well.”
The talented actor is featured in the Oscar-nominated 12 Years a Slave, has a small role in August: Osage County with Meryl Streep, starred in the WikiLeaks story The Fifth Estate, and had a major role in the big hit Star Trek Into Darkness, among his credits. He can also be heard as Smaug the dragon in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, starring Martin Freeman, who plays Sherlock’s best friend Dr. Watson. “We have great chemistry,” he said about working together.
Back to the response of the fans who think he’s cool, he asserted, “It means a hell of a lot to me. It also means a lot to me that there aren’t people camped outside who will grumble and go ‘Well, I preferred Brett.’ It’s fine that they’re there Sunday night around the television, that’s the feeling from the audience that I really get a kick from. One of the biggest thrills I had when the first season launched was to look at the (Sherlock mysteries) book sales shoot up. That makes me very, very happy.”
The great stories are continuing for Masterpiece Mystery’s Sherlock Season 3. Seemingly dead and in his grave at the end of the last series, Sherlock is miraculously back for just three exciting episodes this time around. The next airs Sunday, Feb. 2, following Downton Abbey on PBS, with more to come in the future.
Nowadays Cumberbatch said he tries not to let fame take over his life despite the tremendous success of the show and his movie career. “I still take public transport. I still go shopping. I don’t send minions out while I sit at home at the top of a tall ivory tower with guns pointed at the street. I’ve tried not to adapt my life too much, but I value my privacy.” And even with big screen offers coming his way, he has no intention of stepping away from his Sherlock role. “I’m going to keep going on with it. I love it and find it invigorating. He’s really hard work. I love him to bits.”
Does he ever find himself “Sherlocking” people — making observations about people and deducing their situation? Cumberbatch admitted, “I do every now and again. On the first series when I was going to and from London on the train, I got very interested by smudges on people’s lapels and indents where rings should be, and scuff marks and bits of mud on shoes. You get hypersensitive to detail.” But he admitted he didn’t have a clue to what it all meant.