Benedict & Tom
His parents, Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham, are both actors and he has a half-sister named Tracy. His great-grandfather, Henry Arnold Cumberbatch CMG, was the consul general of Queen Victoria in Turkey. His grandfather, Henry Carlton Cumberbatch, was a decorated submarine officer of both World Wars, and a prominent figure of London high society.
Benedict attended boarding schools from the age of eight, a fact he has admitted bothered him, but held no resentment towards his parents. He attended both Brambletye School and Harrow School. While at Harrow, he had an arts scholarship and painted large oil canvases. It’s also where he began acting. He was a member of The Rattigan Society, Harrow’s principal club for the dramatic arts which was named after Old Harrovian and playwright Sir Terence Rattigan. He was involved in numerous Shakespearean works at school and made his acting debut as Titania, Queen of the Fairies, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream when he was 12. Cumberbatch’s drama teacher, Martin Tyrell, called him “the best schoolboy actor” he had ever worked with. Benedict was also an athletic child and was also part of a rugby team
After he finished school, he took a year off to teach English in a Tibetan monastery in Darjeeling, India. On his return, he studied drama at Manchester University. He continued his training with a one-year course at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. By the time he had completed his studies, he already had an agent.
Since 2001, Cumberbatch has had major roles in a dozen classic plays at the Regent’s Park Open Air, Almeida, Royal Court and Royal National Theatres. He was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role for his performance as George Tesman in Hedda Gabler, a role he performed at the Almeida Theatre on 16 March 2005, as well as at the Duke of York’s Theatre when it transferred to the West End on 19 May 2005.This transfer marked his first West End appearance.
In June 2010, he led the revival of Terence Rattigan’s After the Dance directed by Thea Sharrock at the Royal National Theatre. He played 1920s aristocrat David Scott-Fowler to commercial and critical success. The play eventually won four Olivier Awards including Best Revival.
Cumberbatch acted in Danny Boyle’s The Children’s Monologues, a theatrical charity event at London’s Old Vic Theatre on 14 November 2010. The show was produced by Dramatic Need.
In February 2011, he began playing, on alternate nights, both Victor Frankenstein and his creature, opposite Jonny Lee Miller, in Danny Boyle’s stage production of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at the Royal National Theatre. Frankenstein was broadcast to cinemas as a part of National Theatre Live in March 2011. Cumberbatch achieved the “Triple Crown of London Theatre” in 2011 when he received the Olivier Award, Evening Standard Award and Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for his performance in Frankenstein.
Cumberbatch was a part of a cast featuring members of the Royal National Theatre Company in 50 Years on Stage, the Royal National Theatre’s landmark event for its 50th anniversary on 2 November 2013. He played Rosencrantz in a selected scene from Tom Stoppard’s play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead which was first performed at the National Theatre in 1967.The show was directed by Sir Nicholas Hytner and was broadcast on BBC Two and in cinemas worldwide as a part of National Theatre Live.
He is set to return to theatre to play Shakespeare’s Hamlet at London’s Barbican Theatre. The production will be directed by Lyndsey Turner and will be produced by Sonia Friedman. It will start its 12-week run in August 2015
Cumberbatch’s earliest television roles include two separate guest roles in Heartbeat (2000, 2004), Freddy in Tipping the Velvet (2002), Edward Hand in Cambridge Spies (2003) and Rory in the ITV comedy drama series Fortysomething, alongside “House” actor Hugh Laurie (2003). He also featured in Spooks and Silent Witness. In 2004, he landed his first main part in television as Stephen Hawking in Hawking. He was nominated for the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor and won the Golden Nymph for Television Films – Best Performance by an Actor. He later provided Hawking’s voice in the first episode of the television series Curiosity. He appeared in the BBC miniseries Dunkirk as Lieutenant Jimmy Langley.
In 2005, Cumberbatch portrayed protagonist Edmund Talbot in the miniseries To the Ends of the Earth, based on William Golding’s trilogy; during filming he experienced a terrifying carjacking in South Africa, managing to escape. He made brief appearances in the comedy sketch show Broken News in 2005. He next featured alongside Tom Hardy in the television adaptation of Stuart: A Life Backwards, which aired on the BBC in September 2007.
In 2008, he played the lead character in the BBC miniseries drama The Last Enemy, for which he was nominated for a Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Film. In 2009, he appeared in Marple: Murder Is Easy as Luke Fitzwilliam. He played Bernard in the TV adaptation of Small Island; the performance earned him a nomination for BAFTA Television Award for Best Supporting Actor.
He featured in Michael Dobbs’ play, The Turning Point, which aired as one of a series of TV plays broadcast live on Sky Arts. The play depicted an October 1938 meeting between Soviet spy Guy Burgess, then a young man working for the BBC, and Winston Churchill. Cumberbatch portrayed Burgess; Churchill was played by Matthew Marsh, who had played a supporting role in Hawking. He narrated the 6-part series South Pacific (US title: Wild Pacific), which aired May to June 2009 on BBC 2.
In 2010, Cumberbatch portrayed Vincent van Gogh in Van Gogh: Painted with Words. The Telegraph called his performance “[a] treat … vividly bringing Van Gogh to impassioned, blue-eyed life.” In the same year, Cumberbatch began playing Sherlock Holmes in the first series of the joint BBC/PBS television series Sherlock, to critical acclaim. A second three-part series began on New Years Day 2012 in the United Kingdom and was broadcast on PBS in the United States in May 2012. A third series was broadcast in the United Kingdom in January 2014. He was nominated for a BAFTA, Emmy and Golden Globe for Best Actor in Miniseries or TV Movie for the part. This show launched Benedict into superstardom and was followed by Season 2 and most recently Season 3. The show began with an unaired Pilot episode and a supplemental episode to Season 3 called, “Many Happy Returns”. Both of which can be seen on YouTube. Season three also featured three documentary features called, “Uncovering Sherlock”. Although fans are clamoring for Season 4, both actors and producers are unsure exactly when it will begin filming but hint that the shows might not be seen until 2016.
In 2012, he led the BBC and HBO co-produced miniseries Parade’s End with Rebecca Hall. An adaptation of the tetralogy of novels of the same name by Ford Madox Ford, it was filmed as five episodes, directed by Susanna White and adapted by Tom Stoppard. His performance earned Cumberbatch his second Emmy Award nomination for Best Actor in Miniseries or TV Movie.
In February 2014, he appeared with Sesame Street characters Murray and Count von Count for PBS. In April 2014, it was announced that Cumberbatch will portray Richard III in Shakepeare’s play of the same name in the second series of films for The Hollow Crown.
In 2006, Cumberbatch played William Pitt the Younger in Amazing Grace. The role garnered Cumberbatch a nomination for the London Film Critics Circle “British Breakthrough Acting Award”. Cumberbatch subsequently appeared in supporting roles in Atonement (2007) and The Other Boleyn Girl (2008). In 2009, he appeared in the Darwin biographical film Creation as Darwin’s friend Joseph Hooker. In 2010, he appeared in The Whistleblower. He played Peter Guillam, George Smiley’s right-hand man, in the 2011 adaptation of the John le Carré novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The film was directed by Tomas Alfredson and featured Gary Oldman and Colin Firth. Cumberbatch played Major Jamie Stewart in Steven Spielberg’s War Horse in 2011.
In 2012, he provided the voice and motion-capture for both Smaug the Dragon and the Necromancer in An Unexpected Journey, the first installment of The Hobbit film series based on the 1937 novel by J. R. R. Tolkien. In December 2013, he reprised his roles as Smaug and the Necromancer for The Desolation of Smaug and will do so again for the final film of the series, The Battle of the Five Armies (previously titled There and Back Again), in 2014. For the motion-capture aspect of the films, he had to use a suit and facial markers to highlight the dragon’s expressions and movements. Cumberbatch told Total Film “You just have to lose your shit on a carpeted floor, in a place that looks a little bit like a mundane government building. It was just me as well, with four static cameras and all the sensors.”
In 2013, Cumberbatch also appeared in J. J. Abrams’s sequel Star Trek Into Darkness as Khan, the antagonist of the film. While the film was the biggest commercial success for the franchise, it wasn’t without controversy. Star Trek fans were outraged that Benedict, a British actor would portray a character previously played by Latin actor Ricardo Montalban. There was controversy over the fact that the character had been kept such a secret. On an episode of The Conan O’Brien show, director J.J. Abrams showed a deleted clip of Benedict in a shower scene. Three of the four films he featured in during the second half of 2013 premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival: The Fifth Estate, in which he played WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This was also a controversial movie for Benedict as Assange denounced the film, calling in a fabrication. Assange wrote Benedict asking him not to star in the film, but Benedict did anyway. This was followed by 12 Years a Slave, in which he played William Prince Ford, a slave owner, and August: Osage County, in which he played Charles Aiken. For the official soundtrack of the latter film, he recorded a song titled “Can’t Keep it Inside”.
In January 2014, Gary Oldman confirmed that Cumberbatch, Ralph Fiennes and Amanda Seyfried are to star in his next directorial project, Flying Horse, about the life of English photographer Eadweard Muybridge. Cumberbatch has also signed up for a voice role in DreamWorks Animation’s feature film Penguins of Madagascar, which is set for release in 26 November 2014 in the US. He will be seen in the upcoming historical drama film The Imitation Game as British cryptographer Alan Turing, which will premiere in the US on 21 November 2014.
In September 2013, he replaced Brad Pitt as the lead in Paramount Pictures and Plan B Entertainment’s adaptation of the best-selling book The Lost City of Z about the British South American explorer Percy Fawcett. The film will be directed by James Gray and there is a rumor that Robert Pattinson may costar and is set to shoot in January 2014 in Colombia and the United Kingdom.
At the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, it was announced that Cumberbatch will star in the film adaptation of 2012 National Book Award finalist, The Yellow Birds written by war veteran Kevin Powers. The film will be directed and adapted to the screen by Ain’t Them Bodies Saints director David Lowery. In May 2014, he replaced Guy Pearce in the film Black Mass opposite Johnny Depp which will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures worldwide.
Cumberbatch has repeatedly expressed his affection for radio and has done numerous productions for the BBC. Among his best-known radio work is the adaptation of John Mortimer’s novel Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders in 2009. Cumberbatch played Young Rumpole, and went on to play the part in nine more adaptations of Mortimer’s works. Since 2008, he has played Captain Martin Crieff in the BBC’s Cabin Pressure. He then went on to play the Angel Islington in the 2013 BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. In the same year, he led the BBC Radio 3 adaptation of Michael Frayn’s play Copenhagen wherein he played theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg.
Cumberbatch has narrated numerous documentaries for both the National Geographic and Discovery Channel. He has also read for several audiobooks, including Casanova, The Tempest, The Making of Music, Death in a White Tie, Artists in Crime, and Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries and Other Stories. He has done voice-overs for several commercials, for such major names as Jaguar, Sony, Pimms, and for Google+ performing the Seven Ages of Man monologue. For the 2012 London Olympics, he featured in a short film on the history of London to start the BBC coverage of the opening ceremony. He made appearances for two Cheltenham Festivals, in July 2012 for Music wherein he read WWI poetry and prose accompanied by piano piecesand in October 2012 for Literature in which he discussed Sherlock and Parade’s End at The Centaur. In 2012, he lent his voice to a four-part, spoken-word track titled “Flat of Angles” for Late Night Tales based on a story written by author and poet Simon Cleary, the final installment of which was released in 9 May 2014.
Cumberbatch, with Adam Ackland, writer-director Patrick Monroe, action coordinator Ben Dillon, and production manager Adam Selves, launched a production company, SunnyMarch Ltd. in late 2013.Their first project under the company’s banner was the £87,000 crowd-funded short film Little Favour with Cumberbatch in the lead role and written and directed by Monroe. The 30-minute action-thriller became internationally available on iTunes on 5 November 2013 and was recently featured at a major film festival.
In 1999, Cumberbatch began dating actress Olivia Poulet, whom he met at university. They amicably broke up after 12 years together.After Poulet, he dated London-based artist Anna James in late 2011 but the couple separated in 2012. Recently Benedict was seen with 50 Shades Of Grey actress Dakota Fanning, but there is no evidence of a romance. Cumberbatch has declared that he “cannot wait to become a father”.
While in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, in 2005, Cumberbatch and two friends were abducted overnight and held at gunpoint by a group of locals. In the end, their abductors drove them into unsettled territory and set them free without explanation. Cumberbatch said of the incident: “It taught me that you come into this world as you leave it, on your own. It’s made me want to live a life less ordinary.”
Cumberbatch subscribes to Buddhist philosophy and has expressed affinity for meditation and mindfulness.
He originally wanted to pursue law in university.
Has a condition called heterochromia iridis, the “groovy” mutation that his friend James McAvoy describes in X-Men: First Class (2011). There’s a difference in coloration in his irises, each has a different combination of blue, green and gold. However, this condition has been disputed.
His female fans were originally known as “Cumberbitches”, but are now known as the “CumberCollective” because he objected to the original name.
Fond of extreme sports like skydiving, hot-air ballooning, scuba diving, skiing and high-speed motorcycling.
In April 2014, Time magazine included Cumberbatch in its annual TIME 100 as one of the “Most Influential People in the World”.
Charity and social action
Cumberbatch is an ambassador of The Prince’s Trust, a charity that aims to help disadvantaged young people of the UK. He is also a patron of Odd Arts, a foundation which aims to use a variety of arts disciplines to change the lives of vulnerable people. Since portraying Stephen Hawking in 2004, he has been an active supporter and patron of the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Cumberbatch has also donated his artworks for charities and fundraisers like the Willow Foundation,Thomas Coram Foundation for Children, and the rehabilitation of New End Primary School in Hampstead Heath. He was also one of the celebrities to support”Stephen’s Story”, the fundraising initiative for cancer patient Stephen Sutton.
Together with Prince Philip, he presented 85 young individuals with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at St. James Palace in 19 March 2014. “Our ambition is to extend this opportunity to hundreds of thousands across the UK”, Cumberbatch said on behalf of the youth awards programme. In May 2014, he joined Prince William and Ralph Lauren at Windsor Castle for a cancer awareness and fundraising gala for the benefit of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. Cumberbatch stated, “Cancer isn’t a disease that needs much awareness, but it does need continued funding for research.”
In 2003, he joined the Stop the War Coalition protest in London against the Iraq War. He addressed activists in a 2010 protest sponsored by the Trade Union Congress in Westminster on the suggested risks to the arts due to spending cuts expected in the Spending Review. In 2013, he protested against what he perceived were civil liberties violations by the UK Government.
Cumberbatch is a straight ally and in July 2013 officiated at the same-sex marriage of his friends. For International Women’s Day 2014, he is a signatory of Amnesty International’s letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron for women’s rights in Afghanistan. In 2014, Cumberbatch publicly backed “Hacked Off” and its campaign for UK press self-regulation by “safeguarding the press from political interference while also giving vital protection to the vulnerable.”
In 2015, Benedict married his longtime friend and sweetheart Sophie Hunter in a small ceremony. The two had announced that they were expecting their first child and on June 13th, the two welcomed a baby boy, whose name has not yet been released to the public.
Benedict is set to star in the upcoming Marvel comic hero Dr. Strange, where he will play Dr. Richard Strange, a brilliant Scientist who’s ego leads him down a bad spiral. Benedict will also lend his voice to the upcoming live action Jungle Book movie from Disney.
Thomas William Hiddleston was born 9 February 1981. He was born in Westminster, London, to English-born Diana Patricia (Servaes) and Scottish-born James Norman Hiddleston. His mother is a former stage manager, and his father, a scientist, was the managing director of a pharmaceutical company. Tom’s parents divorced when he was 13. His younger sister, Emma, is also an actress, whilst his older sister, Sarah, is a journalist in India. Through his mother, he is a great-grandson of Flag Officer Reginald Servaes, and a great-great-grandson of food producer Sir Edmund Vestey. He was raised in Wimbledon in his early years, and later in Oxford.
Tom is an English actor who is best known for his role as Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012), and Thor: The Dark World (2013). He has also appeared in Steven Spielberg’s War Horse (2011), The Deep Blue Sea (2011), Woody Allen’s romantic comedy Midnight in Paris (2011), the 2012 BBC series Henry IV, Henry V, and the romantic vampire film Only Lovers Left Alive (2013). In theater, he has been in the productions of Cymbeline (2007) and Ivanov (2008). In December 2013 he starred as the title character in the Donmar Warehouse production of Coriolanus which played until February 2014.
He won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Newcomer in a Play for his role in Cymbeline while also being nominated for the same award the same year for his role of Cassio in Othello. In 2011 he won the Empire Award for Best Male Newcomer and nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award for his role in Thor. He won the MTV Movie Award for Best Fight and Best Villain in 2013 for his role in The Avengers. For his role in the 2013 play Coriolanus, he won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actor.
Tom started off at the preparatory school, The Dragon School in Oxford, and by the time he was 13, he boarded at Eton College, at the same time that his parents were going through their divorce. He continued on to the University of Cambridge, where he earned a double first in Classics. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 2005.
Hiddleston continued on to Pembroke College at the University of Cambridge, where he earned a double first in Classics. During his second term at Cambridge, he was seen in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire by talent agent Lorraine Hamilton, of Hamilton Hodell. He proceeded to study acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, from which he graduated in 2005.
While still doing student plays Hiddleston began doing television, landing parts in Stephen Whittaker’s adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby for ITV the BBC/HBO co-production Conspiracy, and as Randolph Churchill, the son of Winston Churchill, in the BBC/HBO drama The Gathering Storm.
Upon graduating from RADA, Hiddleston was cast in his first film role, playing Oakley in Joanna Hogg’s first feature, Unrelated. His sister Emma also appeared in the film as Badge. Casting director, Lucy Bevan, who cast him in the film said “there was just a fantastic confidence about him”. He also appeared in the leading role of Edward in Hogg’s second feature, Archipelago. His TV credits include Magnus Martinsson in the BBC detective drama Wallander, Bill Hazledine in Suburban Shootout, John Plumptre in the BBC costume drama TV film Miss Austen Regrets and William Buxton in the BBC drama series Return to Cranford. In 2007, he joined a list of British actors, including Kate Winslet and Orlando Bloom, to have guest starred in the long-running medical drama Casualty.
Hiddleston is well known for his portrayal of Loki in the 2011 Marvel Studios film, Thor. He was invited to audition by Kenneth Branagh, the film’s director, after having previously worked with Branagh on Ivanov and Wallander. Hiddleston said of Branagh, “Ken has had a life-changing effect. He was able to say to the executives, ‘Trust me on this, you can cast Tom and he will deliver’. It was massive and it’s completely changed the course of what is available to me to do. Ken gave me my break.” In the beginning, he originally auditioned for the part of Thor. “I initially auditioned to play Thor. That was what I was being considered for, because I’m tall and blonde and classically trained, and that seemed to be the mold for what Thor was, he was to be a classical character. And it was in my auditions. I owe this entirely to Marvel and their open-mindedness, they saw something that they thought was interesting. They saw some temperament that they liked.” The casting director gave Hiddleston six weeks to bulk up, so he went on a strict diet and gained twenty pounds of muscle. In the end, Branagh decided he was more suitable as the antagonist and cast him as Loki. To prepare for his role as Loki, Hiddleston trained in the Brazilian martial art of capoeira.
To be continued…..