Benedict Cumberbatch has been making headlines for his latest award-winning movie, The Power of the Dog, which got him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. The actor has helmed numerous iconic roles including Doctor Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Sherlock Holmes in BBC’s Sherlock series.
His stardom was recognized by Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and on February 28, he was awarded a star on the infamous streets. In addition to the roles mentioned above, Cumberbatch has starred in the movies The Imitation Game and Star Trek into Darkness.
Additionally, the English actor has racked up an impressive number of theater credits, including starring in London’s West End production of Hamlet as the lead character. The play was filmed live at Barbican Theatre and distributed internationally.
Cumberbatch’s long resume has won him a British Academy Television Award for Best Actor and four Golden Globe nominations. He has also received one Olivier Award for his theater work, and two nominations.
Turns out, while Cumberbatch has been entertaining masses and taking home trophies, he has also been living a life full of adventure and strange happenings. Here are five shocking truths about the actor’s life.
Cumberbatch never thought he’d be a ‘leading man’
As Monsters & Critics previously reported, Cumberbatch never thought he’d be a conventional “leading man” and he couldn’t have been more wrong. In an interview with W Magazine, he said, “I got bitten very early when I saw my mum perform. I wasn’t a child actor, I’m happy about that. Nothing against people like my good cast members who have been, but I’m happy I had the experience I had.”
His mother is Doctor Who actor Wanda Ventham. She also starred in BBC’s The Lotus Eaters and Holby City.
Later in the interview, Cumberbatch added, “I sometimes in my twenties thought, ‘d**n, I wish I could have started earlier,’ because I was never going to be playing a leading man. I look the way I look. Maybe I’m growing into my looks now.”
He was abducted in South Africa
In 2013, the Sherlock actor did an interview with The Hollywood Reporter where he recalled a life-threatening situation he encountered while filming the miniseries To the Ends of the Earth in South Africa.
“We were in South Africa, in KwaZulu-Natal, this amazing district north of Durban. It was cold, and it was dark. I felt rotten. We were wary because that’s a notoriously dangerous place to drive,” Cumberbatch shared. “Then, poof, the front-right tire blows. So we got the spare, but that meant getting all of our luggage out. We were like sitting ducks, adverts for, not prosperity necessarily but materialism.”
As they were gathering the tire, six armed individuals approached them. Cumberbatch and his friends were harassed for money, drugs, and weapons. The actor continued to talk about how him and his friends were abducted and their limbs were bound.
The encounter turned into even more of a nightmare when the actor complained that he was beginning to lose sensation in his limbs and the abductors shoved him in the trunk. Eventually, the group was let go “in the middle of nowhere.”
Cumberbatch concluded with, “I was scared, really scared. I said, ‘What are you going to do with us? Are you going to kill us?’ I was really worried that I was going to get raped or molested or just tortured or toyed with in some way, some act of control and savagery.”
He has shared the stage with Pink Floyd
Cumberbatch joined former Pink Floyd vocalist David Gilmour at the Royal Albert Hall to duet the song Comfortably Numb. Later, the actor commented on his onstage experience in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
He shared, “It wouldn’t be called singing, but it was the most near I’ve ever come to having a heart attack: I stepped [in] at the very end of a Pink Floyd gig, David Gilmour persuaded me to come on and do the Roger Waters part in Comfortably Numb, which is, as you know, it’s hardly singing.”
“But I was wondering where the crash team was, because I just thought I was going to die,” Cumberbatch added.
This wasn’t the first time he has showed of his singing voice as he recorded his song for the 2013 movie August: Osage County. In addition to starring in the movie as Charles Aiken Jr., opposite Meryl Streep, Juliette Lewis, and Julia Roberts, he recorded the love song Can’t Keep It Inside.
A delivery driver was saved by Cumberbatch
Back in 2018, Cumberbatch jumped out of an Uber to save a Deliveroo delivery driver. The story was sensationalized by Uber driver Manuel Dias. At first, Dias didn’t recognize the actor. He told The Sun that Cumberbatch charged towards four thieves who were attempting to rob someone on a bike.
The driver recounted that the incident occurred near Sherlock Holmes’ fictional home on Baker Street. “It was only then I recognized Benedict. Then it all got a bit surreal. Here was Sherlock Holmes fighting off four attackers just round the corner from Baker Street,” said Dias.
“He seemed to know exactly what he was doing. He was very brave. He did most of it, to be honest. He wasn’t injured. Then I think they also recognized it was Benedict and ran away,” he added.
The food delivery service issued a statement to Cumberbatch following the heroic act. They tweeted, “Thank you Benedict Cumberbatch for your brave actions. Deliveroo riders are heroes — their safety is our priority and any violence against them is totally unacceptable.”
Cumberbatch has danced on a glacier
While doing press for the movie The Fifth Estate, Cumberbatch participated in an Ask Me Anything event on Reddit. The actor popped on the social media website to answer questions submitted by his fans.
He spoke about a myriad of things, such as his experience with fame and his most wild fan encounter (which was with The Good Place’s Ted Danson). However, what was the most shocking was his story about dancing on a glacier in New Zealand in response the fan-prompted question, “Where has your favorite place been so far to visit?”
Cumberbatch’s written response read, “On an untouched New Zealand glacier via helicopter where I stepped out in trainers, jogging pants, and got out and danced. Or touching the earth after my first skydiving jump in Namibia. Or a balcony in South Africa where I felt the sun on my face after the night I was carjacked.”