You probably already saw this coming, but I have a huge crush on Benedict Cumberbatch. So, I’m a cumberbitch, apparently.
This is pretty new for me, and I’m really excited.
It’s not that I never have crushes on movie stars, though I wasn’t really one of those teen girls who spent a long time lusting after various stars. Or I did, maybe just not the kind you could hang posters of on your wall. Rex Harrison, for instance. It’s really hard to be a pre-teen girl and explain who Rex Harrison is let alone why his accent is sexy. And just try doing that with, say, Errol Flynn. I mean, sure, The Aviator helped, but not enough.
I guess what I mean to say is that – generally the stars I lust after are long dead.
To be fair, I used to have a crush on Jeremy Irons, who is near death, but not actually dead. But then he went around comparing gay marriage to incest and I really feel like it’s caused a rift between us. So, that crush may not be dead, but it could be slowly dying.
And now I’ve got a live one!
I’m pretty psyched about this.
I am, apparently, not alone in loving Benedict Cumberbatch. There’s an entire website for Cumberbitches (possibly the filthiest sounding fan girl name I can fathom) that lists problems like “his voice sounds like a jaguar purring inside a cello” and “pretending you’re into Ford Maddox Ford and Parade’s End when you’re really just lusting after Benedict.”
I swear to God I’m really into Ford Maddox Ford. I also like Rupert Everett as an actor, so I mostly watched Parade’s End for that. But I liked The Good Soldier (which I read after watching the bizarre Alexis Bledel movie version)! No, seriously, I did like the book, which I was vaguely familiar with. That is to say, I had read about half of Parade’s End, thought, “This main character is an idiot,” identified strongly with his adulterous wife until she became highly religious, thought, “This character is also an idiot,” and put the book down. But I was interested in how they’d handle the depiction of it on HBO, and, especially, how they would manage to get a naked character into it, which is a time honored HBO tradition.
Oh, hell, who am I kidding, I’ll watch any drama where there’s any chance that any character might wear a fichu. It’s all I look for.
Suffice to say, I started watching Parade’s End thinking “no one could ever make this main character likable, but my lust for fichus is being somewhat satisfied,” except… Benedict Cumberbatch is actually shockingly likable. He plays a character who seems bizarrely antiquated at the turn of the century as someone who is not just a weirdo (which is how I always imagined him) but as someone with a strange sort of nobility.
In many ways, for those of you who also love dead actors as much as I do, he reminds me of Leslie Howard playing Ashley Wilkes in Gone With The Wind. Except that he’s playing that role all the time.
That’s really hard to do. I think generally that’s an aspect of character you don’t get in many modern actors. When you think about someone who seems noble, you think largely about, well, dead actors. You can’t say that’s an adjective you immediately think of when you think of, oh, Channing Tatum. Maybe George Clooney did, but George Clooney is bizarre in that he seems to embody every adjective anyone could want (at least for a brief time when we were all teenagers).
How does one do that? Well, I suppose Benedict Cumberbatch’s British accent helps a whole bunch. It does sound like a jaguar purring inside a cello. Really, anyone who went to boarding school in England has an automatic edge on the world in a lot of ways. And he sort of looks like Leslie Howard, which I guess is helpful, too.
But, God, have you seen him in Sherlock? He’s better than I ever imagined Sherlock Holmes as being. Again, I always thought that Sherlock as, well, a vaguely autistic guy who was good at solving crimes? Benedict Cumberbatch makes him seem like he is just a man who is too good for this world.
Frankly, even when he’s playing the villain in Star Trek he plays him as though… as though he is the reincarnation of the paradigm of male nobility in Gone With The Wind. Sort of with a strange, sad, almost brooding quality that makes me feel like I am watching a very old movie shot on surprisingly modern film.
So, I think it’s that. The wistfulness. The nobility. The accent.
And, of course, the tweed. And the suspenders. Pretty much any man who always dresses as though he stepped out of a vintage closet will always be attractive.
So, always, that.