Translation

oneman.gr Benedict Cumberbatch interview, with MANY thanks to detectivewithabowtie who translated all of it!

image

My favourite bit (complete interview under a read more):

Were you surprised by the number of fans that the series gathered so quickly?

Sue: Yes, very much. 

Ben: [looks laughing] Explain!

Yes, explain! 

Ben: [laughs]. We can’t. It is definitely a legendary character and it helps that we use some more modern elements that have to do with how the modern fanbases evolve so fast at the speed of light or anyway with the speed of the internet. This is what happened the night we premiered on the BBC in England.
It helps that he uses social media. He has a blog, not a diary. There is something direct in the way he uses technology. So has a modernized mythology, based on a framework similar to the one the fans use. As for the fan art that exists, perhaps it is becausewe only do three episodes at a time and there is a half-year hiatus every time, so what can I say … they get bored and do all those weird things … I’ve seen pictures with Sherlock having sex in space. And so you say OK, fine, I really did not do anything this year and a half! [laughs] But no, we have very talented fans. Because they understand us. There is a degree to which exaggeration is touched –

Half of tumblr is—-

Ben: Devoted to Sherlock Holmes?

Yes, you’re something like the rock star of the tumblr era, along with, I don’t know, Tom Hiddleston?

[they laugh]

Ben: Yes … I’m sorry about this, world. But you know …

Sue: We thought that we would just be a little, nice cult series ..

Ben: Yes, because of the symbolism of the hero. But what happened I can only explain by theories of the moment. That is, that it has to do with social media. It helps that fans are using the same tools and he uses. People thus have a larger, more public interest, directly and quickly. There is this ‘OMG LOL’ fervor turn around, all the emotions … all the feels I’d rather say, eh?

Yes, yes, all the feels. 

Ben: I think it makes sense that people felt like they belongs to a community around this character. That is fantastic. And also I love fans who just wait for the new episode on a Sunday night on TV, hopefully with new episodes until the end of 2013. That’s what I want. All the generations. And those people who don’t even care about computers or don’t even have internet access. The same with the people who are going to tweet their opinion about the new scarf I’m wearing in the series. I want everyone to enjoy it. There is something that invites people of different generations, isn’t this it? Where grandmothers can sit and watch the series with their grandchildren.

How did your involvement with “Sherlock” begin in the first place? 

Sue: With Steven Moffat, who’s my husband, and Mark Gatiss. In the train to Cardiff, while they were talking about “Doctor Who” they also discussed what they could do if they did not have “Doctor Who”. And they were always talking about Sherlock Holmes. They were saying that at some point, someone would make a modern version and they wanted to be the ones to do it. Steven used to come home and say to me that they’d been discussing it and I was always supporting him, telling him that he could do it. When the time came, it was the one script that was sold so easily to the BBC. We just presented it and they bought it right away.
Steven Moffat is involved in “Doctor Who”, which is a new version of a very old character, he’s done a modern version of “Jekyll”, and of course “Sherlock”. What do you think is that that makes him so good in reinventing characters for the modern audience?

Ben: The fact that he loves them, them and the source material. And that devotion of his comes along with great ingenuity, which embellishes the intelligent writing, great comedy, the deep relationships and grounded drama that he knows how to write at the same time. It is a stimulating combination to have someone who can handle something with care but not be overly cautious towards it. Because then you can –
[ringing phone]

Sue: Oh, it must be mine.

Ben: It could be Steven.

Sue: Let’s ask him as well!

Which was your first contact with Sherlock Holmes?

Sue: With him?[Points at Benedict]
In literature, preferably!

Sue: [laughs] I’m not a ravenous reader of books, Benedict has read more than me.

Ben: I’ve read them all.

Even before the show?

Ben: No. Weeeeeell … Well, most before, yes. But not with any passion or nostalgic memory. I had never been obsessed as a child and I simply overlooked them. I was not of those who read and knew everything about the “Lord of the Rings” let’s say. Coincidentally I read the “Hobbit” at the time I read the most Sherlock Holmes.
I remember watching some episodes of the ’80s series with Jeremy Brett. It had an effect on me, but I started working frantically when I got myself in the series. And instead of referring to another version, I read through the books to get to the essence of the character. It’s a fantastic template for the character because it is written by Dr. Watson who despite accusations, observes many things. He certainly understands the character of Sherlock, the atmosphere, the physiology, the volatile mind, the eternal psychological sway. Any dependencies Parsons complacency, inaction, the cynical laughter, his alertness, his nasty side, the pleasant side. He has a lot to comment on. So it was the most perfect possible research for me.
Before that I just remember watching Jeremy Brett at home when I was little and my mother saying that she knows him. She was an actress and knew him personally. So I would say that I have a connection because of my mother, instead of reading the stories themselves.

Speaking of Brett’s version, there are so many incarnations of Sherlock –

Sue: 70 I think?

Ben: I think Robert Downey Jr. was the 75th. I mean, there are many. It is in the Guinness Book. I THINK. [says the word shouting while leaning to the mobile that was recording the conversation.] I say this for Mark, he was the one who told me. But yeah, he must be the most reinterpreted character that exists.

How do you approach it when there are so many versions? How do you put your own thing in there?

Ben: It’s like Hamlet, you simply trust that there so many times, which means that all the actors brought something new to the role. That there is room every time for something different. And what you saw in me … Also this one is obviously different in context because the story takes place in the modern world.

But it could not have worked if you did not bring something specific to the role.

Ben: No.

Sue: But you can’t fear it, can you?

Ben: Yes, you have to be as bold is the scenario. You must take a final decision. And you know, I was perfectly mentored by three of them. From Sue that is running the series, and from Steven and Mark, the people who created this. Also from Paul, the director who consolidated the visual style. And of course the rest of the cast that we’re performing together. Martin … and … and …[pauses, doesn’t know what to say, he raises his head and smiles] Only Martin, actually. There is absolutely no one else in the series! [laughs] I’m sorry, I was on vacation. 

Sue: All of the team is important. 

Ben: Yes. And you have to be fearless and inventive, like the scripts. 

Which of the 6 stories you reinvented was the most difficult one?

Sue: Most probably “The Hound of the Baskervilles”. Mark was referring to the hound as ‘bitch’.

Ben: It’s a terribly difficult story to reinvent because –

Sue: It does not make much sense! [laughs]

Ben: And also Holmes is absent for the two thirds of the story and then he just appears disguised in the morgue, and says “woo hoo”.

Sue: Which is something you can’t do with a series called “Sherlock”!

Ben: Yes, no. So it was hard to squeeze in the story along with Watson from scratch. But how to redo something that is pure gothic horror! It is a monstrous hound … I do not know, a lot of responsibility.

How did the format of the series come about? With the season three episodes each is –

Sue: 90 minutes huh? Yeah, initially it would have been hourly. But we shot the pilot and they loved it so much they realized how it can be a bigger television event with 90 minutes. So we went on like that. And three time seems to be just as we can get given the low availability of the cast. I suppose the BBC would like more if we could do more. But we need some four months even for these three.

And there are no unnecessary episodes right? I mean there are procedurals like “Elementary” which has a different approach …

Ben: Yes

But you could throw away half of the season…

Sue: Yes. 

Ben: Right, every second counts with these, I guess. And we build our own mythology and stories that unfold throughout the season and are richer in this way.

Sue: And we avoid the “difficult fourth episode.” The fourth episodes is always tough for me. 

Ben: But yes, you’re right, ours is not procedural and I am very grateful for that. Not just because it gives us the time to do something other than only those episodes for 9 months a year. But also because it means that the quality is somewhat more assured. Not completely guaranteed of course, but you know, there is an element … There is a greater focus in the world you’re building in the time period you’re doing it.

Were you surprised by the number of fans that the series gathered so quickly?

Sue: Yes, very much. 

Ben: [looks laughing] Explain!

Yes, explain! 

Ben: [laughs]. We can’t. It is definitely a legendary character and it helps that we use some more modern elements that have to do with how the modern fanbases evolve so fast at the speed of light or anyway with the speed of the internet. This is what happened the night we premiered on the BBC in England.
It helps that he uses social media. He has a blog, not a diary. There is something direct in the way he uses technology. So has a modernized mythology, based on a framework similar to the one the fans use. As for the fan art that exists, perhaps it is becausewe only do three episodes at a time and there is a half-year hiatus every time, so what can I say … they get bored and do all those weird things … I’ve seen pictures with Sherlock having sex in space. And so you say OK, fine, I really did not do anything this year and a half! [laughs] But no, we have very talented fans. Because they understand us. There is a degree to which exaggeration is touched –

Half of tumblr is—-

Ben: Devoted to Sherlock Holmes?

Yes, you’re something like the rock star of the tumblr era, along with, I don’t know, Tom Hiddleston?

[they laugh]

Ben: Yes … I’m sorry about this, world. But you know …

Sue: We thought that we would just be a little, nice cult series ..

Ben: Yes, because of the symbolism of the hero. But what happened I can only explain by theories of the moment. That is, that it has to do with social media. It helps that fans are using the same tools and he uses. People thus have a larger, more public interest, directly and quickly. There is this ‘OMG LOL’ fervor turn around, all the emotions … all the feels I’d rather say, eh?

Yes, yes, all the feels. 

Ben: I think it makes sense that people felt like they belongs to a community around this character. That is fantastic. And also I love fans who just wait for the new episode on a Sunday night on TV, hopefully with new episodes until the end of 2013. That’s what I want. All the generations. And those people who don’t even care about computers or don’t even have internet access. The same with the people who are going to tweet their opinion about the new scarf I’m wearing in the series. I want everyone to enjoy it. There is something that invites people of different generations, isn’t this it? Where grandmothers can sit and watch the series with their grandchildren.

Sue: That’s why it went so well when it premiered in England. People were saying that this is the main thing they watch with their teenage children. You know, family sits together and watch TV again. As with “Doctor Who”. 

Ben: : Yes, it’s for the people with dark, refined aesthetics, but also children. I love it. You have different generations of people staring with bulging eyes, so you know you’ve done something the right way. While remaining faithful to the books. It resounds to the public either adults who’ve read the stories to their children, or discovering them again after years or just children who read them for the first time. I was excited that people went to bookstores to buy books, to read the words of Arthur Conan Doyle. We did our job, I’m very happy about that.

Has Sherlock left a feature of his to you?

Ben: My mother says that I’ve become more impatient! She’s probably right, Sherlock is always in a hurry. Sometimes in a devastating degree. But what I would like to get from him is his focus, the way he focuses on details and his discipline. Sometimes I feel like this character is like solving a crossword each day. My mind grows, my memory is sharpened. As if it is mental exercise. This is what I’m getting from him.

How is it every time you get a new script?

Ben: Always wait anxiously and when we get them we text with Martin. It’s like Christmas. Because you know, are we as fans of the series as … [nods towards the mobile] these people … [laughs]

Sue: We are all very passionate about the series, yes.

Ben: And if you think about it and the degree of recognition that it brought all us, to me, to Martin … I can ‘t regret anything, I am totally proud.

Now you’ve done Sherlock Holmes, Star Trek and Tolkien..

Ben: A perfect geek storm! Obviously it wasn’t that was predesigned just Peter Jackson who is a fan of “Sherlock”, because he is geek. So we are both in the movies, Martin and I. J J Abrams was a fan of the series. He had panicked over who would play this devil character in the new “Star Trek”, and Lintelof says “what do you think about him”, and J J continued in panic “I do not know, I need someone new, someone contemporary, someone dark, someone who can do a lot, do a lot! “[Cumberbatch here imitates perfectly the nervous, panicky Abrams voice] so Damon says ”yes … him?” So yes, I owe all this to “Sherlock” but I owe “Sherlock” to Joe Wright, because they were watching “Atonement” [points at Sue] and Steven was describing how the one they were looking for Sherlock should look like, and Sue points and the screen and says, “what, like this guy?” So I guess that’s how it goes, from branch to branch.

That’s how you got the role?

Ben: Yeah, well I read things at the auditions, two scenes I think but it was a joint decision…

Sue: Yes, and was even a time when the BBC wanted to always be given three names of candidates for the roles, even if you had someone specific in mind. And we didn’t even bother. We told them simply, this is our Sherlock. 

And a last question for Sue.

Sue: I’m not telling you who’s the next Doctor! [laughs]

Pity! But I wanted to ask about “Coupling”, it’s one of my favourite comedies. What do you remember from back then?

Sue: Oh, the last time I was in Athens was when they did the Greek “Coupling”, I haven’t seen it. But you know what’s awesome? The mother of my character in “Coupling” was played by your mother. [looks at Cumberbatch].

Ben: My mother is in “Coupling”! 

Sue: Yeah, Susan’s mother is Benedict’s mother. And that was the first time we met, right? 

Ben: Yes, in the studio, at the recording afterwards. And then I met them all. Strange how things come out huh? 

(http://youtu.be/6S7EnTOK4Ro)

June 22nd 2013 · 2,548 notes
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