Unless you’ve been under a rock (or maybe you’ve been in hiding to disband a vast criminal network – hey, it happens) for the last few years, you will no doubt know of how Benedict Cumberbatch has achieved world-wide superstardom since he donned his scarf and frockcoat in the first series of Sherlock five years ago. While we all primarily know him as the world’s only consulting detective, Cumberbatch’s successful career – which will soon encompass as diverse roles as Hamlet and Marvel’s Doctor Strange – includes many a performance, from those in blockbuster cinema to television movies, that Sherlock fans should check out.
For one of his first leading roles, Benedict went right in at the deep end, giving a passionate and physical performance as the motor-neuron disease suffering physicist, Stephen Hawking. While Benedict’s friend, Eddie Redmayne, recently played the role to critial acclaim in a cinematic version of his story, The Theory of Everything, Benedict’s rendition of Hawking is just as well-played. This is one for any Sherlock fan wondering where Cumberbatch started out.
Starter for 10 (2006)
Miles away from Stephen Hawking, Benedict played nerdy quiz team champion Patrick Watts opposite James MacAvoy in comedy drama Starter for 10. It’s not a starring role but here Cumberbatch proves his comedy skills for which fans will be familiar with from Sherlock’s drunken moments in The Sign of Three. Also, his future-on screen brother Mark ‘Mycroft’ Gatiss has a cameo in the film!
For anyone wanting to see Benedict in another unsavoury role after seeing him as the villain in Star Trek into Darkness, look no further than this wartime romantic film in which Cumberbatch plays the lecherous Paul Marshall. Trust us when we say he’s not a nice guy. Weirdly, this is the role that Steven Moffat and Gatiss saw Benedict in and realised he would be perfect to play the heroic Holmes. Er, Ok, then.
Stuart: A Life Backwards (2007)
While it is very different from Sherlock, this moving made-for-television film sees Benedict again play a character in an unexpected male friendship – here he is a writer who makes friends with the lively yet tragic homeless person Stuart, played by Tom Hardy. This is one to watch for a Sherlock fan wanting to see Benedict in more of a Watson role.
The Imitation Game (2014)
As he was playing another anti-social genius, much comparison was made between Benedict’s role here as Alan Turing, the man who cracked the Nazi enigma code during the Second World War, and Sherlock. However, Benedict actually gives a very different performance as this very unique individual in this touching biopic. You can read our review of The Imitation Game here.
Is there a role of Cumberbatch’s that you think should have made it on to our list? Leave it in the comments!