How Benedict Cumberbatch helped my career

1469a00fa4b6e1cc37e6620e88533c1fBenedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch is a thirty-seven-year-old British actor who closely resembles either an otter or space alien. I’m really not sure if he was even considered mildly good-looking until 2010, when he premiered as title character Sherlock in the BBC’s modern adaptation.

Co-creators of the show Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat have famously been interviewed as saying the BBC didn’t think Cumberbatch was sexy enough to play Sherlock. Now, oddly enough, he’s considered one of the sexiest men on Earth, with a trove of maniac fans known as “Cumberbitches.”

Empire Magazine listed him number one in their list of 100 sexiest movie stars. He made Glamour Magazine’s list, too. Oh, and number one in the British Sun (two years in a row). In response to this, Cumberbatch says, “I enjoy being considered handsome, even though I think it’s hysterical.”

Do I think he’s good-looking? Yes. God, yes. (See obsessive Pinterest board.) That’s right, folks. Embarrassing as it is, I’m a member of Benedict’s maniac fanbase. And it is kind of embarrassing. When I was a kid, I had this thing for Brad Pitt (posters on the wall, signing my name “Sara Pitt”). I haven’t had that kind of obsession again until now, and I’m thirty-two and married.

What does this have to do with my career? Since getting to know Mr. Cumberbatch via BBC’s Sherlock, he has inspired countless fictional characters in my work, most notably in “Don’t Ball the Boss,” soon to be published by Stoneslide Corrective.

When he got his Emmy nomination.

When he got his Emmy nomination.

The TV show inspired me to write fan fiction, as well. I’ve written five pieces of Sherlock fan fiction and have been shocked by the overwhelming response.

I’ve had women and men send me emails requesting more, more! They shout to the rafters that I should be published immediately. My Twitter following has possibly doubled. In fact, I once found my name mentioned in a Twitter conversation involving no less than six Cumberbitches. When I chimed in, one of them tweeted, “It’s her! It’s HER!” as if I were a celebrity.

My stories get upwards of two hundred hits per day. As writers, we very rarely get such immediate praise and develop such a fast following. Benedict Cumberbatch has unknowingly made me famous.

But the actor is more than creative inspiration. This is going to sound sappy, but he’s a life inspiration, as well. He was almost killed after being kidnapped in South Africa, but due to this terrifying experience, he just says he learned “not to sweat the small stuff. And just enjoy the ride of being alive.”

Apparently, he’s impossible to interview, because he’s like a fish with a shiny object. He’s easily distracted, due to his overwhelming enthusiasm. According to GQ writer Stuart McGurk, “I feel, compared with Cumberbatch, like someone going through existence with the contrast dial turned down. To him, it seems, everything is neon bright. The barbs may sting more sharply, but his sun must shine that much brighter.”

Taking pictures with fans.

Taking pictures with fans.

Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman said, “He’s sweet and generous in an almost childlike way. I could take advantage of him playing cards.” Other male co-stars seem to have developed complete bromances with Benedict (Michael Fassbender and Zach Quinto, for example).

Cumberbatch admitted recently that he’s seeing a therapist to deal with his new fame, and he admitted this with no shame, saying mental health should be more openly discussed.

In everything he does, he seems exuberant, fun loving (see U2 photo bomb), and incredibly polite. He worships his fans, and he says “thank you” every five minutes, even in the middle of the Oscar’s red carpet. When I said earlier he looks like an alien, he might really be an alien, because no human being can possibly be so damn sweet!

This is what I mean when I say life inspiration.

The man’s behavior, even as he has become a superstar, is jaw dropping. He has yet to go the way of Bieber or Lohan—stars who got famous and lost their shit. Instead, Cumberbatch has become more gracious, and according to Steven Moffat, “better looking the more famous he gets.”

Today, I say thank you to someone I’ve never met and will probably never meet, because unknowingly (and over and over), he has inspired me, made me laugh, and made me want to be a better person. He has improved my career (something even I never saw coming). And it all started while watching PBS, when I thought, “Wow, that man has great hair.”

Bromance dancing with Fassbender.

Bromance dancing with Fassbender.

15 thoughts on “How Benedict Cumberbatch helped my career

  1. Thank you, Sara. Passing from old, then elderly, and now into the archaic stage of life permits a sense of freedom sorely missed in youth. Mr. Holmes and I have been acquainted for well over five decades. Loving art as a child, I was thrilled at the “perception” or “idea” of a character being often more prominent from an author’s illustrator than the writer. Learning how “Sherlock Holmes” was pictured for the Victorian world to see in those Strand illustrations intrigued me. An accident, of sorts, gave us the Sherlock we all know and… (skip the “L” word and insert whatever gives one palpitations). The BBC Sherlock phenom has nicely coupled with the emergence of “Endeavor” to give gooeys to the mourning Morse and Inspector Lewis devotees.

    If one ever has the pleasure of chatting up any aficionados in pubs near the “221 Baker St.” location, the lucky visitor may be asked THE question to determine one’s depth of devotion. The “correct” answer is more intriguing than the accidental origin of Sherlock’s visual characterization.

    The thanks extends to another conundrum I have. A freebie screenwriting teleconference I recently engaged in has me “outside” the group. What a surprise! I’ve never been a groupie or “socie.” The teleconference moderator is a pro and insists on having widespread connections to succeed. Sorry. The world I have always felt most comfortable in is as the observer outside the perimeter keeping track and learning in solitude. Sort of like an Oceanic White-tipped shark. Easy going, always out there somewhere, and an international gourmand for anything tasty dropping in. Let the “Great Whites-Pointers” and Tigers get all the glory. I’ll settle for amateur blue water yacht-folks and the errant surfer too far out past the shoals for aperitifs during my coastal rounds.
    I like your blog style. You, along with others in the “Biz,” help me with the discipline of just getting the damned writing done on a daily basis. The Sherlocks, Morse’s, and other BBC programs help me avoid any straight jackets and “Yank Tele.”

    It would be interesting if Sherlock ever crossed paths with Inspector Frost. :-)

      • Thanks! I’m a “cord-cutter” but will search for Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Back to my Youtube. Some AWESOME UK folks apparently feel sorry for us Yanks and have offered up some older series from their files. Makes me proud to be half Brit/Canuk!

  2. I, too, am a Cumberbatch fan. I’d seen him in movies before Sherlock (Atonement, Starter for Ten, Amazing Grace) but oh, my God, I literally sat watching him in Sherlock in awe. Such a great actor.

  3. I too am a real benedict fan , i think he”s gorgeous , & absolutely love sherlock holmes , i too have watched quite a few of his films & love them all, i’m 52 but get a fuzzy feeling inside when i see adorable pics of him lol, i just wish i was younger & intelligent like him. I think he”s one of the best actors around, & i absolutely lovely that lst pic of him dancing, he looks so cool , nothing like sherlock lol.

  4. Great writing, never have seen your fanfiction – what is your twitter name? I have 3 kids (older one in college) and I have not been obsessed like that with any actor since an age of 13…

  5. Pingback: Wow, some stuff happened this year! | Sara Dobie Bauer's Blog

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