I find as I grow older and become more individual, as we all do, that extraordinary roles suit me more and I fit them better,” Cumberbatch says. “In one’s 20s it’s about conforming and trying for success and pleasing others. With time and confidence, it’s more about going your own way, career-wise and personally.”
When told he’s quite popular in Japan, Cumberbatch gurgles with pleasure.
“Really? How wonderful … rather apt, too,” for the actor is Buddhist. “The Zen spirit in particular intrigues me. One can’t always achieve it — it’s a goal, that becoming one with what you’re trying to achieve … as in that wonderful book about Zen and the art of archery, where the archer momentarily becomes the bow and the arrow. In special moments, that can happen in acting as well.”
The versatile Cumberbatch played rugby while attending the prestigious Harrow School in London and studied at the University of Manchester. He spent a year teaching English at a Tibetan monastery, and was captured along with two friends and held overnight at gunpoint by locals in South Africa in 2005. They were released without explanation.
“I’m saving some of my experiences for the eventual memoir,” he says. “But they’re not going to waste till then. I use them in my performances.”