“When I was about 25 years old, I worked with two very good actors.[…] Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton both embodied qualities which one is fogyishly tempted to look at with nostalgia. I didn’t know at the time that they were married or that they had a son of about 10 who was quietly gestating all the same attributes.
And now, 30 years later, the boy has been let loose. He has taken the form of Benedict Cumberbatch.
[…]It’s rare to the point of outlandish to find so many variables in one actor, including features which ought to be incompatible: vulnerability, a sense of danger, a clear intellect, honesty, courage — and a rather alarming energy. I take no pleasure in feeling humbled, but there’s no getting around it.
I’ve been very lucky at what’s happened in my career to date, but playing something as far from me as possible is an ambition of mine - anything from a mutated baddy in a comic book action thriller, to a detective. If anything, I’d like Gary Oldman’s career: he’s the perfect example of it. I’ve love to have a really broad sweep of characters - to be able to do something edgy, surprising and unfashionable. (May 2005)
You accomplished that Benedict and we are very proud
Benedict Cumberbatch is expanding his literary excursion into television.
The British actor will portray a playboy in Melrose, a limited five-episode Showtime series adapted from the Edward St. Aubyn novels, the pay-cable network announced Tuesday. No airdate has been set.
That comes after Cumberbatch, who has gained a big TV following playing Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, signed on to play a children’s book writer in the PBS movie, The Child in Time, based on Ian McEwan’s novel.
In Melrose, Cumberbatch will play Patrick Melrose, “an aristocratic and outrageously funny playboy who struggles to overcome the damage inflicted by a horribly abusive father and the mother who tacitly condoned the behavior,” Showtime says.
Melrose, a series of semi-autobiographical novels, will jump from the south of France in the 1960s to New York in the 1980s to Great Britain in the early 2000s. David Nicholls is adapting the books for TV; Cumberbatch is among the executive producers.
The series, which will devote an hour to each of the five novels, “hilariously skewers the upper class as it tracks the protagonist’s harrowing odyssey from a deeply traumatic childhood through adult substance abuse and, ultimately, toward recovery,” Showtime says.
Cumberbatch, who also starred on the big screen in The Imitation Game and 12 Years a Slave, had previously expressed interest in Patrick Melrose, telling participants in a Reddit Q&A that if he could play any literary character, he would choose him.
“We are delighted to be part of this incredible series,” Cumberbatch and fellow executive producer Adam Ackland said in a statement. “We have been huge fans of these books for many years and David Nicholls adaptations are extraordinary.”
Showtime Networks has ordered Melrose, a five-part limited series toplined and executive produced by Sherlock and Doctor Strange star Benedict Cumberbatch.
The project, a co-production between Showtime and Sky Atlantic, is based on the Patrick Melrose series of semi-autobiographical novels written by Edward St. Aubyn. David Nicholls (Far From the Madding Crowd), who called Cumberbatch “the perfect Patrick Melrose,” is writing all five episodes of the TV adaptation. Search is underway for a director.
Melrose skewers the upper class as it tracks the protagonist’s harrowing odyssey from a deeply traumatic childhood through adult substance abuse and, ultimately, toward recovery. Cumberbatch’s Patrick Melrose is an aristocratic and outrageously funny playboy who struggles to overcome the damage inflicted by a horribly abusive father and the mother who tacitly condoned the behavior. Each episode will follow one of the five novels, and take place over the course of a few intense days in the life of the protagonist. The settings range from the South of France in the 1960s to New York in the 1980s and Britain in the early 2000.
The limited series will begin shooting in New York, London and the South of France in August.
“We have been huge fans of these books for many years and David Nicholls’ adaptations are extraordinary.” said Benedict Cumberbatch and Adam Ackland of Cumberbatch’s SunnyMarch TV.
Indeed, asked in 2013 if he could play any literary character ever, Cumberbatch shared in a Reddit Q&A that it would be Patrick Melrose.
Michael Jackson and Rachael Horovitz (Moneyball) executive produce alongside Cumberbatch and Ackland. Melrose will be the first production for Two Cities Television, the drama banner recently formed by Jackson, former Channel Four and IAC executive.
The Patrick Melrose series of novels consists of Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, Mother’s Milk, and At Last. Mother’s Milk was made into a feature film in 2012, with Jack Devenport as Melrose.
Cumberbatch also recently signed on to star in and executive produce a 90-minute TV movie adaptation of Ian McEwan’s award-winning 1987 novel The Child In Time for BBC One and Masterpiece written by Stephen Butchard. He has amassed four Primetime Emmy Award nominations and one win for his title role in BBC’s Sherlock, whose Season 5 is up in the air. He also received an Oscar nomination in 2015 for The Imitation Game. Cumberbatch, whose feature credits also include Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Star Trek Into Darkness, and 12 Years a Slave, is repped by UTA, Conway Van Gelder Grant and Sloane Offer. UTA and Conway Van Gelder Grant handled the U.S. deal around the limited series.