He is the main attraction to Summer 2015 in London, outselling the 100,000 tickets available at the Barbican in minutes for his role as Hamlet. Benedict Cumberbatch is the chameleon actor, incredible on the big screen, our very own TV screens and now on stage. This month he shows his strength as an incredible human being, standing up to gay extremists in an interview for Out magazine. Within the article, Cumberbatch, who stars in upcoming The Immitation Game, expresses his disgust that sexuality is still an issue and insists he would fight these extremists to the death if they tried to enforce their beliefs onto him.
“People are being beheaded in countries right now because of their beliefs or sexual orientations. It’s terrifying. It’s medieval – a beheading! I’d take up arms against someone who was telling me I had to believe in what they believed or they would kill me. I would fight them. I would fight them to the death. And, I believe, the older you get, you have to have an idea of what’s right or wrong. You can’t have unilateral tolerance. You have to have a point where you go, ‘Well, religious fundamentalism is wrong.”
Within the interview, the Sherlock star retells the tragic death of Alan Turing, who despite breaking the enigma code in WW2 which helped win the war; was found dead in his room at the age of 41, shortly after being prosecuted for being gay. Cumberbatch is amazed that although that happened in 1954, similar things are still occuring 60 years on.
“Human rights movements and sexual and gay rights movements have made huge social progress in the last 40 years, without a doubt, but there’s a lot more work to be done. I think it’s extraordinary that every time we get to a point where there’s any kind of trouble in society, people are scapegoated very, very, very quickly.”
His recent rise to fame across in the US has come over almost suddenly, with the the New York Times dubbing him as an “accidental superstar”, he takes on his fame in his stride – riding the wave of stardom with an effortless shrug. However, Cumberbatch notes, that it’s not so easy for other stars, witnessing prejudices against sexuality within Hollywood.
“I think if you’re going to sell yourself as a leading man in Hollywood, to say ‘I’m gay,’ sadly, is still a huge obstacle. We all know actors who are [gay] who don’t want to talk about it or bring it up, or who deny it. I don’t really know what they do to deal with it.”
The latest issue of Out magazine is available in stores now, or read the full interview online here.