But you don't know Benedict.
Ah, now this is a topic I’ve been lucky enough to discuss with some dear mutuals over the years, so let me see if I can do an answer justice.
Of course, we can never know the man, not truly; that is only for the very lucky few that are a part of his life, his world. But there is so much we can deduce of him, based upon his work, his words, his public deeds and behavior.
If you look at his work alone, you see incredible natural talent that he has refined through dedication & physical and mental discipline; you see a love of the written & spoken word; and most especially you see a keen & compassionate understanding of the human condition–for how else could he bring such breathtaking truth to all of his characters? Even the wicked ones, like Khan & Richard III–he makes us feel that even they have reasons for the things they do, often rooted in emotional/psychological pain. Though the evil they do is no less evil, we can sympathize to some degree, with what brought them to that place. In my lifetime I have seen no player more truly & more lovingly—in Shakespeare’s words—hold the mirror up to nature.
In interviews & public appearances, you find a humble, self-effacing man, a bright wit, & sense of humor generous enough to make himself as likely a target of jesting as anyone or anything else. He values home, hearth, family, the environment, although he could easily give over to hedonism on his bank account. How many times do we see him wearing the same clothes, carrying that same blue water bottle on set, even brown bagging his lunches at times?Choices, I’m sure, that reflect his commitment to simplicity and to reduce his carbon footprint. Benedict’s charitable works have been well-recorded on this site, so I’m not going to research it, but when I run across a post about it, I’ll be sure to reblog for info’s sake.
I won’t speak at length about his personal relationships, except to say that’s a man who loves his wife thoroughly. It would frankly break my heart to learn he had the same feet of clay of so many other public figures & celebrities in this regard—what I see tells me he and Sophie have the real thing. And that he guards his little family’s privacy so jealously is further testament to that.
In short, (though this runs long) I trust my eyes & ears, and they tell me to trust in the public image that is clearly on view. I see a man who gives as much positive energy to the world as he can, and embraces life with complete joie de vivre. And as I believe in the human soul, I see a most spectacular one that shines luminously, not only enhancing his unique physical beauty, but reminding me that true good is possible in a world that is often quite selfish & mean.
I could probably go on with dozens of more examples, but let me just finish with one of my favorite photos of him, which for me reflects (I hope) a bit of what I’ve written here.
Thank you for your ask–it was a delight to answer! ❤❤❤