**Here are some various pics of Benedict & the cast of The Hobbit promoting The Desolation Of Smaug..
The actor talks about how much he knew about the WWII codebreaker before taking the role, whether or not motion capture is “real” acting, and more.
“The Imitation Game” tells the story of the British mathematician, crypto-analyst and code breaker Alan Turing. He’s best known as the man who cracked the German Enigma code during World War II and is considered the father of the modern computer.
One could say the man was an enigma himself.
Turing was also openly gay — though quietly so — at a time when homosexuality was a crime in England. Despite his accomplishments, which helped end the war two years early and saved millions of lives, he was tragically persecuted for his sexual orientation. Today, Turing still remains largely unknown throughout the world.
He’s played in the film by Benedict Cumberbatch. When we recently caught up with the actor, we asked how much he knew about Turing before taking the role, how he embodied the role of Smaug in “The Hobbit,” and whether or not motion capture is real acting.
How did this role land on your desk?
I was over here in L.A. filming “Star Trek” and there was this Blacklist script that everyone was talking about called “The Imitation Game,” and a few friends and businessfolk of mine said, “You really should read this, we think you’d be great in it.” I started to read it and was completely drawn in. I just kept reading and reading, it was a page turner, it was a thriller, it was a love story and it was this extraordinary exploration of this man who is far more complex than a bluff, arrogant, distant academic.
He was somebody who was incredibly, intensely sensitive and alive to the world he was in — not somebody who worked in isolation or in some kind of ivory tower or a brain in a glass jar. He was physically part of his world — and also as a gay man in a time of intolerance when that was deemed illegal. I just couldn’t bear the tragedy of his story that for me was compounded by the fact of how unknown he is in comparison to his achievements.
This is a man who almost singlehandedly broke the Enigma code, probably ended World War II a couple years early, saved millions of lives.
Fourteen million lives people estimate. And also the man who was — still, now, by the kings of Silicon Valley — rightfully held as a true icon of the computer age. A man who is seen as the father of the computing age. This man who was then punished for his sexuality and also because of quietly admitting to his nature, a gay icon. So why the hell haven’t I known more about him? That really compounded the emotional impact of the end of his life, the end of his story and his tragic suicide.
It almost sounds as if you felt compelled to play this part. I’m curious, is that generally true, partially true, occasionally true when you decide to play something?
This one was utterly driven by a real need to tell this story and to travel his legacy further than it had traveled before. I feel it’s really urgent and … telling this story now is a needed thing — again, not just because of his legacy, not just his story and the injustice that he was served, but [because of] the injustice that minorities are still served around the world wherever prejudice exists. However it’s borne through fear, through nationalism, through any kind of dark political maneuverings. We’ve seen it in Russia, we’ve seen it in Turkey, we’ve seen it in Greece, we’ve seen it in the Middle East — the treatment of gay men and women being scapegoated as people who are different. Those people are destroyed by that environment.
You’ve said about acting: “I’m determined to manufacture at least the appearance of mastering whatever it is the character has to master, because otherwise there is no point.”
I think so, to be specific about it, there are activities you do as an actor when you are performing thought or intelligence, and it’s always handy to be active, physically active. The art department had created this incredible replica of the machine [Turing] builds at Bletchley Park, the bomb, which he called “Christopher” in the movie. I was intrigued to know how they built that. What I could do to interact with it. How I could understand the way it worked from what I understood of the real machine, which was on a good day quite a lot. On a bad day it could lose me at the first sentence of explanation.
It was really important within the activity of how I moved around that machine — treated it, what I was fixing — that I understood what I was doing. The same with the schematics, the drawings, the designs of the machine that you see me making and pinning to a board. If somebody said, “What is that? Is that a transistor or is that another bit of circuitry?” I would have gone, “Well, I, err…,” if put on the spot. But when in the act of doing it and in that specific moment, I could have told you — and that’s important to me.
How do you replicate that kind of preparation or that intensity when you’re doing a role like Smaug in “The Hobbit”?
He was a character that existed in my imagination, thanks to my father who was an actor and read that book to me as a bedtime treat. Then I expanded on that and I really insisted to [director] Peter [Jackson] that we do motion capture for the creature because I wanted to explore the physicality, to establish the vocal qualities. And I also wanted to perform it in a visual context and give the animators and incredible digital wizards at WETA in New Zealand a template to work off that was my face and they did — remarkable as that may seem for a scaly, 400-odd-foot, fire-breathing, bad-breathed, flying dragon. There are moments, especially when I’m facing off to Thoreon and Bilbo, you can see sort of certain eyebrow movements and kind of things that are of me.
It’s acting. It’s acting, pure and simple. It’s a really pure form of acting, it’s play. People I think are very wary of calling it acting. It was so freeing, wonderful and I felt completely uninhibited. It helps that you look like a complete tit at the beginning of your working day. But when you see someone like Andy Serkis, as I was fortunate enough to see when I went to New Zealand to first start working on this with Peter … He was really excited to show me a cut of the riddle scene, and there he is, Gollum, and it’s complete, and Martin [Freeman], both of them being utterly brilliant in that scene.
Then about half-way through the scene, suddenly all the animation and digital wizardry that goes on top of Andy just disappeared and he was there in his suit doing his thing. About three seconds later you forget that. Every physical movement, every detail of expression, but also every believable intention behind the line, examination of character — it’s flawless acting, it’s the most superb performance, and I think the more people see how it’s put together, when you see it afterwards … those are towering achievements. Really special moments in cinema history. So, yeah it’s acting alright
**This video doesn’t play on other websites, you have to go to YouTube to play it. Just click on the video to view it.
**I like this clip the more times I see it. (:
**Here is the actual Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug video. If his voice doesn’t send chills up your spine, nothing will..
**Here is another accolade from one of Benedict’s co-stars. This time, The Hobbit star Evangeline Lily gave an interview where she gave Benedict glowing remarks..
Benedict Cumberbatch, star of the PBS series on fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, may be one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood, but he said fame is never something he strived to achieve.
“It’s really hard. It’s really, really hard,” Cumberbatch, 37, who also had a key role in the ensemble cast for the 2013 blockbuster film, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” said of show business during a recent interview with the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. “It’s a difficult job and with all the success comes a whole new load of problems.”
Since 2012, Cumberbatch has portrayed the characters of Smaug and the Necromancer through voice and motion capture in Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” trilogy. He has also appeared in “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “12 Years a Slave” and “August: Osage County.” The Golden Globe-nominated actor recently sat down to talk with BAFTA’s YouTube channel called “In Focus: Acting.”
Cumberbatch prefers to keep his private life just that and has taken great pains to keep the identity of his rumored girlfriend from the media. But the British-born actor did open up with advice on how to break into the business. “The landscape of it is forever changing,” he said. “I just think, persevere.”
While Cumberbatch may have gained a loyal fanbase playing the famous detective Sherlock Holmes, the actor said his performances are, and never will be, as “perfect” as his fans believe them to be. The BBC-produced “Holmes” airs on PBS in the United States.
“You can never perfect what we do. There is no way,” he explained. “I have never met anyone who goes, ‘That’s perfection.’ I mean to an audience, outside of your work, people can think that that’s the only way they would ever want to see that part played or that moment done, whatever, but as an actor, and this is not humility, I think it just goes for all art forms really, that the whole point is perfection is unachievable.”
While Cumberbatch may shrug at the public notoriety his acting talents have deservedly brought him (In April 2014, Time magazine included him in its annual Time 100 as one of the “Most Influential People in the World.”), he still retains a sense of refreshing awe and wonder about his craft, even at one point referring to the world of acting as “magic.”
“It’s that constant pursuit of the unattainable which is kind of magic, really,” Cumberbatch said with a smile, while discussing the art form. “It should keep us kind of motivated to try better. Fail again, fail better. “
Cumberbatch is in Boston filming the Whitey Bulger crime drama, “Black Mass,“ alongside Johnny Depp and Dakota Johnson. The film, which is based on a true story, is being written and directed by Scott Cooper. It’s due out next year.
Cumberbatch said that when he’s choosing a role, the importance of a character overrides how big a part it is. “Usually what I try to look for in a role is something I haven’t done before,” he said. “I like to sort of throw some fresh stuff out and I think about, well how important is this character? Not how big, but just how important. How interesting is this going to be to watch and to bring to life?”
The actor said rehearsals also are critical. “It’s a great thing to have rehearsals and just know that you’re coming at it from the same point of view. It just means you can be more free, you can play and enjoy it, and I think that’s what elevates good work to great work.”
Cumberbatch has three films set to debut in theaters later this year: Morten Tyldum’s biographical thriller, “The Imitation Game,” (Nov. 21); the animated feature, “Penguins of Madagascar,” (Nov. 26); and the highly anticipated, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” (Dec. 17).
The three episodes that will make up Season 4 of “Sherlock” are expected to air on BBC One sometime in 2016, plus a Christmas special to hold fans over is in the works and will presumably air in December 2015.
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