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5 Things We Learned From Benedict Cumberbatch


The Sherlock star talks about his new movie The Imitation Game, religious tolerance, and sexuality in Hollywood

It's been a great year for Benedict Cumberbatch. The British star shot to fame in the U.S. for his work on the hit series Sherlock, which won him an Emmy Award and recently went into production on a fourth season. And the next three months will be good ones for his rabid fan base. He has three movies scheduled for release between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But the movie that might earn him an Oscar nomination is The Imitation Game, a biopic about the gay mathematician Alan Turing and his role in breaking the Enigma code used by Germany during World War II. For its November 2014 cover story, "The Gospel According to Benedict," Cumberbatch sat with Out editor in chief Aaron Hicklin to discuss his rising stardom, tolerance, and, of course, sexuality.


On being openly gay in Hollywood:

"I think if you're going to sell yourself as a leading man in Hollywood to say 'I'm gay,' sadly, is still a huge obstacle. We all know actors who are [gay] who don't want to talk about it or bring it up, or who deny it. I don't really know what they do to deal with it. Human rights movements and sexual and gay rights movements have made huge social progress in the last 40 years, without a doubt, but there's a lot more work to be done. I think it's extraordinary that every time we get to a point where there's any kind of trouble in society, people are scapegoated very, very, very quickly."

On the various slash fiction turning Sherlock and Watson gay:

"Because, you know, they either want to make John [Watson] into a sort of cute little toy, or me into a cute toy, or we're fucking in space on a bed, chained together. It's always , like, one of them is tired, one comes back from work, the other is horny, a lump appears in his trousers, and then they're at it. It's usually me getting it -- I'm biting Watson's dog tags."

On his days at English boarding school, where sexual antics are supposedly notorious:

"While there was experimentation [at Brambletye], it had never occurred to me as Oh, this is that. It was just boys and their penises, the same way with girls and vaginas and boobs. It wasn't out of desire."

On the fact his latest character, Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, had to receive a posthumous royal pardon for being gay:

"It's an insult for anybody of authority or standing to sign off on him with their approval and say, 'Oh, he's forgiven.' The only person who should be [doing the] forgiving is Turing, and he can't because we killed him. And it makes me really angry. It makes me very angry."

On religious tolerance:

"People are being beheaded in countries right now because of their beliefs or sexual orientations. It's terrifying. It's medieval -- a beheading! I'd take up arms against someone who was telling me I had to believe in what they believed or they would kill me. I would fight them. I would fight them to the death. And, I believe, the older you get, you have to have an idea of what's right or wrong. You can't have unilateral tolerance. You have to have a point where you go, 'Well, religious fundamentalism is wrong.'"

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