Working with Cumberbatch, co-stars get challenged and 'batched'

Fri Sep 12, 2014 8:08am EDT
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By Mary Milliken

TORONTO (Reuters) - Benedict Cumberbatch is "challenging," says the director of his new film, and "a handful," according to his co-star.

Even he will admit that, given his way, he'd probably still be perfecting scenes from "The Imitation Game" instead of promoting the movie this week at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Such is the curse of working with Cumberbatch, one of the most sought-after actors today on both sides of the Atlantic. Last month, he won his first Emmy for his role as a modern-day Sherlock Holmes in the BBC television miniseries "Sherlock", which airs on PBS in the United States.

Now the 38-year-old Englishman is among early favorites for an Oscar best actor nomination for his portrayal of Alan Turing, the unlikely British World War Two hero.

In "The Imitation Game," Turing is the brilliant mathematician who breaks the Germans' Enigma code, helping to bring the war to an end and save millions of lives. He took his own life at 41 after he was convicted for being a homosexual.

Director Morten Tyldum said Cumberbatch, his first choice for the role of Turing, proved himself "a challenging actor because he expects so much from you."

"When I would say 'we’ve got a phenomenal take here, we got it, let’s move on,' he would say 'just let me try and do something different'," said Tyldum, a Norwegian directing his first film in English.

"And he does something even better, that I could not even think of."   Continued...

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch poses at the "The Imitation Game" gala at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in Toronto, September 9, 2014.  REUTERS/Mark Blinch