By Kerrie Hui, Reporter
Brainy is definitely the new sexy.
When word started spreading of the possibility of one of Britain’s most highly-sought actors would come Down Under, quite a few heads exploded (figuratively of course).
Oz Comic Con brought star Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Star Trek: Into Darkness, 12 Years a Slave) down to Australia for their Adelaide event and an exclusive Benedict-only Q&A in Sydney. For two days. Just Benedict. TWO days. Boy was Sydney and this Q&A attendee lucky.
The Saturday (12th April) event was sold out at an astonishingly fast rate. I hear VIP tickets that went for $500+ for both days were gone before the 10am official launch time. This event did not come cheap, but having absolutely no available tickets left gives a pretty good indication of just highly sought after Cumberbatch is after he reached an unparalleled height of fame since the release of BBC’s Sherlock, playing the title character.
Did I mention it was just Benedict Cumberbatch for two whole days?
The event was held at the campus of University of New South Wales (which happens to be my alma mater) at the Sir John Clancy Auditorium. The day started around 8:30am when we were invited into the Auditorium to collect our tickets with our allocated seats. Allocation was based on how fast you were able to get your tickets. B21 and B22…this attendee had lightning fast hands. Tokens for photos and autographs were sold row by row.
At 10am the photos with Benedict began – queue the hysterics. Being in row B meant I had my photo taken pretty early on, and was seated near the exit door to see enough girls come out after having their photo taken with the star. The winning consensus would have to be a) OMG OMG OMG; b) Neeehhhhyaaahhhhh!!!; and c) hysterical crying and hyperventilation. Let it be known that my response was neither of the three and it was a simple, “well crap”. Everyone who purchased tokens (which means basically everyone) was able to get a photo with him. Clips of various videos and interviews Cumberbatch were played on a large screen to keep other attendees occupied, and when the “I’m Sexy and I know it” compilation of Cumberbatch and Hiddleston dancing was shown, the man poked his head out to see what was causing such a ruckus. Queue more screams.
At 1:30pm, the autographs began…rinse and repeat the previous paragraph. Though this process took much longer….
By 5pm, the panel finally began. Cumberbatch came out dancing, using his phone for music. Everyone in the auditorium was going shutter crazy as photos were only allowed to be taken for the first five minutes before we had to put away all electronic devices. Which was great for a very interactive panel.
Here are some things that were discussed:
Cumberbatch’s favourite directors and what he thinks makes a good director. FYI it’s someone who can inspire you and draw out a better performance without directly telling the delicate egos of actors of what to do specifically.
His favourite cheese.
His methods for preparing for a role, including Sherlock (memory exercises, a lot of reading and memorising the script, and mnemonics), Frankenstein (getting into the mindset of the monster without empathy and working on the physicality and movements), Julian Assange (watching a lot of video clips, reading, talking to people who know him)
His favourite childhood movie. Ghostbusters.
How he got the scar on the top of his lip. Long story short, it’s from being impaled by trying to do an “Indie” but ending up being impaled by the log in the bog. In prep school there was a swing of some sort over the log in the bog. Students would wait for the pendulum to stop in the middle and try to jump and reach for it. They named this move the “Indie” (after Indiana Jones), and during one attempt, Benedict, who did not know that another student jumped after him, missed and hit his head on the log. The other boy fell on top of him, leading to him impaling his lip on the log and thus the infamous scar.
His favourite Sherlock scenes to film, including Vatican Cameos, the scene with Irene Adler in the valley, and working at the wedding of John Watson and Mary Morsten.
Future plans, including books he wants to act in (which weren’t really discussed since there is a possibility of him optioning a few with production companies), and discussing his upcoming movie The Imitation Game
His advice for future aspiring actors: keep your body fit for the sake of your mind, supplement your income if you can so you can survive months without work, read more books, watch more movies, and be the person on trains, trams, and buses who observe people.
The Q&A ran longer than scheduled. Cumberbatch gave the fans the half hour that was eaten up by autographs going over time, and was reluctant to leave. Being able to pick the brains of such a great actor who still manages to remember his roots and is humble by it all was truly an inspiring experience.
There we have it. A look at Cumberbatch’s Sunday (13th April) appearance in Sydney, Australia.
PS: I can now say I have danced with Benedict Cumberbatch.