On 16 November 2014 Benedict Cumberbatch answered a variety of questions submitted by fans on the Dreamworks Animation tumblr about The Penguins of Madagascar. A summary of the questions and answers are below:
If you could go back in time, what era would you like to visit and why? – Thetwoweeks
Benedict – If I could survive it, the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution. That pace of change, evolution, progressiveness. Especially when we moved towards abolishing the slave trade and then slavery. The human cost of the advances of the era were too high and horrendous to contemplate let alone live through and wish upon the world again. But what an exciting time to be alive in to witness the pioneering adventures, inventions, revolutions of political and social thought – how alive all forms of culture were in these great leaps forward in various aspects of the human world. It seems very exciting from a distance – maybe I’d regret it the moment I stepped out of the time machine.
By the way… I’m enjoying not being constrained to 140 characters.
Benedict – Yes, I am! I’ve been sat next to John Malkovich, a true hero of mine, marveling at his calm, measured, beautifully precise language as he talks through the process of playing a sociopathic octopus. What’s not to love about that as a day’s work!
Benedict – I was alright in school – there were better. But we got inventive! Especially after taking origami classes. But pretty planes don’t always fly the best.
Benedict – I love working with actors I’ve worked with before that become friends – you can take risks without fear of self-consciousness. There is such an extraordinary abundance of talented actors and actresses that it’s very hard to single out any individuals – it’d be wrong to even try. I loved working with Rebecca Hall on Parade’s End and would gladly repeat the experience on any opportunity. Like Meryl Streep, she has a complete command of character and it was utterly inspiring. She lifts everyone’s work ethics to her standards. She’s a mate and I adore her. It goes without saying that Keira was wonderful to work with again in exactly the same vein
Benedict – I have an English accent, I’m very good at hand-to-hand combat in close quarters, I have an occasional intolerance for cuteness – please don’t ramp that up this afternoon. It’s been a long week.
Benedict – Delicious donations to charities that I care about
Benedict – In the morning
Benedict – When my parents first took me out in the pram and they recognized me as my parents’ son. It was a heady moment. I’m still trying to get my little heady around it.
Benedict – “It’s like trying to talk to my parents.” My parents will never forgive me for that.
Benedict –Butterball. or Flightless.
Benedict -Uhhh… that’s twenty questions in one sentence, but good ones. It’s a long, drawn out, piecemeal process that requires a great deal of near-contradictory collaboration in the sense that you work in isolation from your fellow cast members in different locations around the world, and at different times – but to achieve the same ends. It is, however, supported by great readers who are in the room with you – and Simon and the rest of the creative team linked by Skype, steering you in the blindness of not knowing where in the scope of the full picture you are, how your character has developed visually, what the entire script is, and therefore the journey of that character. And the work that might yet have to have been done on the animation or by the other voice actors. Everything comes together, though, and it gets to a point where you feel that you’ve always known what you were a part of, why you are doing what you’re doing. Its a lot more physical than you’d think. Any voice work, whether audio book or narration of nature documentary…! PENGUINS! (See, I can type it right!) Any voice work requires a physical effort and presence, but even more so with animation as you are filmed to give the animators some fuel for their limitless imaginations.
Benedict -Yes, because no one would expect someone as absurdly overexposed as me to be any good at keeping secrets. Having said that, I’ve managed to keep quite a few professional ones… so far…
Benedict – Sleeping. And spending time with loved ones.
Benedict -Not meaning to be eagle-tistical, but a gliding bird of prey has always struck me as something of great beauty – to be suspended in the air, defying gravity with majestic views all around you. Without anyone with a smartphone standing nearby, watching you. Strikes me as being pretty cool.
Benedict – Head.