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Benedict Cumberbatch: The Biography

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An intimate portrait of a heartthrob and rising star, best known for his portrayal as Sherlock Holmes Benedict Cumberbatch has played detective and monster, barrister and scientist, politician and painter, comic and spy. Still only in his thirties, and with a string of starring and supporting roles, he has portrayed contemporary icons, historical figures, and fictional favo An intimate portrait of a heartthrob and rising star, best known for his portrayal as Sherlock Holmes Benedict Cumberbatch has played detective and monster, barrister and scientist, politician and painter, comic and spy. Still only in his thirties, and with a string of starring and supporting roles, he has portrayed contemporary icons, historical figures, and fictional favorites, from Stephen Hawking, to William Pitt the Younger, to Frankenstein. But inevitably, he is still best known for his idiosyncratic and boldly 21st century incarnation of Sherlock Holmes in the BBC TV series, Sherlock. The Sherlock star’s story is a genuinely compelling addition to a sometimes anodyne genre. This book will trace everything from his travels in Tibet to the trauma of being kidnapped at gun-point in South Africa. His eventful personal life, stellar acting career, and the witty, self-effacing interviews he is renowned for are sure to make him a perfect subject for an in-depth biography.


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An intimate portrait of a heartthrob and rising star, best known for his portrayal as Sherlock Holmes Benedict Cumberbatch has played detective and monster, barrister and scientist, politician and painter, comic and spy. Still only in his thirties, and with a string of starring and supporting roles, he has portrayed contemporary icons, historical figures, and fictional favo An intimate portrait of a heartthrob and rising star, best known for his portrayal as Sherlock Holmes Benedict Cumberbatch has played detective and monster, barrister and scientist, politician and painter, comic and spy. Still only in his thirties, and with a string of starring and supporting roles, he has portrayed contemporary icons, historical figures, and fictional favorites, from Stephen Hawking, to William Pitt the Younger, to Frankenstein. But inevitably, he is still best known for his idiosyncratic and boldly 21st century incarnation of Sherlock Holmes in the BBC TV series, Sherlock. The Sherlock star’s story is a genuinely compelling addition to a sometimes anodyne genre. This book will trace everything from his travels in Tibet to the trauma of being kidnapped at gun-point in South Africa. His eventful personal life, stellar acting career, and the witty, self-effacing interviews he is renowned for are sure to make him a perfect subject for an in-depth biography.

30 review for Benedict Cumberbatch: The Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mysterious

    I probably read fifty books' worth of Sherlock fanfic before this, which goes to show that my real interest is the characters rather than their actors. (Same deal for Wolverine and Hugh Jackman.) This title is a decent enough Cumberbatch overview. It feels like a very long People magazine article, both in a good way (chatty, readable) and a bad one (superficial). The Cumberbatch phenomenon is so new that there's just no perspective, but that's hardly Justin Lewis' fault. As for Mr. Cumberbatch, he I probably read fifty books' worth of Sherlock fanfic before this, which goes to show that my real interest is the characters rather than their actors. (Same deal for Wolverine and Hugh Jackman.) This title is a decent enough Cumberbatch overview. It feels like a very long People magazine article, both in a good way (chatty, readable) and a bad one (superficial). The Cumberbatch phenomenon is so new that there's just no perspective, but that's hardly Justin Lewis' fault. As for Mr. Cumberbatch, he had quite the few years! I hope he continues to stay humble and pick interesting projects... and make time for Sherlock!! (Random note: British people call awards "gongs"?)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

    I really like Benedict Cumberbatch as an actor, but this book was quite boring, compared to what I had expected. I knew it wouldn't be so much about his private life (I can totally live with that)but a thing that annoys me all the way through this book is that it's not written chronologically. It's going through his career as an actor so I don't under stand why the reader has to be dragged back and forth in time in every chapter.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Started off slow, lacked interest but got better throughout the book. Well researched commentary on Benedict's career so far. However, I wished throughout that this was an autobiography as it missed any in-depth knowledge of Benedict, a presumption I made that someone writing a biography would have an intimate / behind the scenes knowledge of the subject matter.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Indah Threez Lestari

    359 - 2019 Before Doctor Strange.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    This is a well researched book. As a big fan of Cumberbatch’s work, I already knew a lot of this information which is why I’ve only given it 3 stars; If I hadn’t known a lot, I would have given it more

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elisa

    « What had marked him out early, though, was a refusal to chase populist parts for their own sake. He had always opted for the route of quality work, and had never committed to long runs of a television series. This enabled him to avoid being typecast in one role. » « By being occasional, Sherlock always feels like special television. ‘I just want to bring people in a little bit to the idea of sitting down on a Sunday three consecutive weeks,’ Cumberbatch told America’s National Public Radio in 2 « What had marked him out early, though, was a refusal to chase populist parts for their own sake. He had always opted for the route of quality work, and had never committed to long runs of a television series. This enabled him to avoid being typecast in one role. » « By being occasional, Sherlock always feels like special television. ‘I just want to bring people in a little bit to the idea of sitting down on a Sunday three consecutive weeks,’ Cumberbatch told America’s National Public Radio in 2012, ‘and having that water-cooler moment, that really was a sort of national sensation in the UK. It was an extraordinary cultural moment.’ » « ‘He’s a handsome, remote genius,’ offered Sherlock co-creator Steven Moffat. ‘He’s impersonating a glacier but actually he’s a volcano – or actually that’s what I imagine his frantic and amorous female following are thinking.’ » « A restless toddler, Benedict showed little sign of controlling his energy during his first years in education. » « I probably had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or something on the border of it. I was always performing, doing silly voices. » « His whisky beaten, cigarette stained voice aptly captured the personality of the philandering private eye. » « The second hald of his gap year found him in Darjeeling, West Bengal, India, where he taught English to Buddhist monks for an organisation appropriately called GAP. He was able to live with the monks, and witness all their daily rituals, including working and praying. ‘They taught me about the duplicity of human nature, but also the humanity of it, and the ridiculous sense of humour you need to live a full spiritual life.’ » « He wasn’t starry-eyed. » « ‘Sherlock Holmes explained,’ said the Doctor Who writer. ‘Superman never told you how he flew, he just did. The Doctor never says a word about how the Tardis can be bigger on the inside, it just was. But Sherlock can’t wait to tell you how the trick is done – and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out.’ » « He has a really strong and assured way with language, and he’s quick and able to play quick thinkers as a result, people who are mercurial. » « Cumberbatch had a reputation for working hard, and despite his determination to keep himself in trim (plenty of swimming, yoga and honey), sometimes this led to lapses in his health. » « He has revealed that he could not learn these speeches ‘parrot fashion’. Instead, he explained : ‘In rehearsals, repetition, ‘actioning’ the script, a Stanislavski-based method of understanding the why, what and how of the part by applying transitive verbs to each line, association with that action, the cue line and any blocking all act as triggers to remember the line.’ Although he acknowledged that ‘a patient assistant director or girlfriend’ was helpful too. » « If he wasn’t being cast as someone posh, it was as someone clever or creative, scientists, mathematicians, artists. » « ‘There’s something of the Alan Rickman about him,’ said the Guardian. » « I want to have my Daniel Craig moment ! » Benedict Cumberbatch The Biography – Justin Lewis

  7. 4 out of 5

    Piepie

    The first time I saw Benedict Cumberbatch was when an old boyfriend introduced me to "Sherlock." I have not been the same since, wanting to snatch up and view everything I can with Cumberbatch's name on it. For instance, I've seen Starter for 10 (hilarious!); Wreckers; Third Star; Star Trek Into Darkness; August Osage County; The Fifth Estate; Parade's End (very good!); Small Island (also very good); and 12 Years a Slave. I enjoyed this book, but I felt like I could have gotten all this informat The first time I saw Benedict Cumberbatch was when an old boyfriend introduced me to "Sherlock." I have not been the same since, wanting to snatch up and view everything I can with Cumberbatch's name on it. For instance, I've seen Starter for 10 (hilarious!); Wreckers; Third Star; Star Trek Into Darkness; August Osage County; The Fifth Estate; Parade's End (very good!); Small Island (also very good); and 12 Years a Slave. I enjoyed this book, but I felt like I could have gotten all this information off of the internet somewhere. Even the photographs included I had already seen online. The author only listed a page of sources; I was disappointed that he did not include any footnotes or any other kind of notes. However, any fan of Benedict's will enjoy this book. The material covers his early life; his parents; his working with the likes of Moffat and J.J. Abrams; his relationships with his contemporaries (such as James McAvoy and Tom Hiddleston); and even a little bit about his private life. Pick it up - it's a quick read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Georgia

    This was a really good read for fans of Benedict. It didn't just tell you about him and his life but some details about his parents, co-stars and what his school had been like. The book gave a very detailed list of theater, radio, tv and other appearances he has been in describing in detail how he got the role, quotes from him and co-stars and generally informing us of the experience he has had with fame and fans. You can tell from the book that Benedict is a genuine down to earth sweet guy and This was a really good read for fans of Benedict. It didn't just tell you about him and his life but some details about his parents, co-stars and what his school had been like. The book gave a very detailed list of theater, radio, tv and other appearances he has been in describing in detail how he got the role, quotes from him and co-stars and generally informing us of the experience he has had with fame and fans. You can tell from the book that Benedict is a genuine down to earth sweet guy and he has worked hard to get where he is. He doesn't want to be known as one traditional role but he wants to explore a range of different characters. He doesn't want to to be stereo cast as a traditional rich boy as he only has a privilege background because of his parents giving him the best education possible at Harrow. Benedict is an awesome guy and I really did enjoy this book. The only reason it was not a five star read was because the dates did not follow a chronological order and were all over the place. It would have been better if the book followed a structure.

  9. 4 out of 5

    CHERRY

    The first thing to note, before writing anything about this read, is to be neutral and not give it ten out of five stars for a book ALL about Benedict Cumberbatch. So, it's about the presentation. The first half is intriguing. Learning about young Benedict is a joy, especially when he first experiences theatre and when he flashes himself. There is the right amount of description of events and quotes from Benedict to tell his story. Much of it was a page-turner for me. Sherlock seems most crucial i The first thing to note, before writing anything about this read, is to be neutral and not give it ten out of five stars for a book ALL about Benedict Cumberbatch. So, it's about the presentation. The first half is intriguing. Learning about young Benedict is a joy, especially when he first experiences theatre and when he flashes himself. There is the right amount of description of events and quotes from Benedict to tell his story. Much of it was a page-turner for me. Sherlock seems most crucial in Benedict's acting career, but the book just refers to it way too much after it first appeared. I would rather it spend some pages on Benedict's audio-book recordings. Though, this is obviously subjective. Anyhow, this book quotes Benedict on life, work attitude, and other things, altogether prompting the readers to respect and adore this fine man, with perhaps the silliest name there ever was and ever will be, working hard on his acting career.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ina

    Not that I've read a lot of biographies, but I wish this one was better written. It doesn't always move in a linear fashion and is often hard to follow the chain of work being talked of. Even though I appreciate the fact that the author had to present multiple fields of work of Benedict's professional life, which included multiple projects being undertaken by him at a time, I do wish the author had done a better job highlighting the events as they unfolded. The author often starts talking about a Not that I've read a lot of biographies, but I wish this one was better written. It doesn't always move in a linear fashion and is often hard to follow the chain of work being talked of. Even though I appreciate the fact that the author had to present multiple fields of work of Benedict's professional life, which included multiple projects being undertaken by him at a time, I do wish the author had done a better job highlighting the events as they unfolded. The author often starts talking about a project as through the reader already knows of it - perhaps in case of Sherlock it's fine but for the others, directly jumping into the nitty-gritties of a play/radio show makes one go 'woah, wait a min...what are you talking about here?' As an avid Benedict fan, I have to say that his illustrious career deserved better highlighting and a better flowing narration.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mediopathin

    To be honest, this was the first biography I've ever read, so I can't tell if it's good or not. But I like try to give it a view from a fangirl's position: The book offers a good overview about Benedict Cumberbatch's career and it even puts a light on his very early days including some really nice quotes from as well early critics. The complete book is quite long drawn-out and gets lost in counting facts and giving background information sometimes. So, if you would try to shrink the content, you'l To be honest, this was the first biography I've ever read, so I can't tell if it's good or not. But I like try to give it a view from a fangirl's position: The book offers a good overview about Benedict Cumberbatch's career and it even puts a light on his very early days including some really nice quotes from as well early critics. The complete book is quite long drawn-out and gets lost in counting facts and giving background information sometimes. So, if you would try to shrink the content, you'll finally get a good comprehension about Ben and the BBC. It's not a "must read", but a brief round-up.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    My rating reflects the book itself. Although my opinions of Cumberbatch himself have changed quite a bit over time. This biography reads simply as a timeline of events with quotations strung together from various popular interviews and magazines. No part of this book seems original and no individual research (e.g., an interview with Cumberbatch himself for this book) appears to have been done. Absolutely dreadful biography. Nothing new can be gleaned from this work that does not already appear o My rating reflects the book itself. Although my opinions of Cumberbatch himself have changed quite a bit over time. This biography reads simply as a timeline of events with quotations strung together from various popular interviews and magazines. No part of this book seems original and no individual research (e.g., an interview with Cumberbatch himself for this book) appears to have been done. Absolutely dreadful biography. Nothing new can be gleaned from this work that does not already appear on the Internet.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Apex157x

    Fairly light but informative read, quite a bit of which I already knew from interviews, but nice to have all in one chronological place. Little bits here and there that make you smile and reemphasizes what I already sensed about the integrity and talent of this stellar actor.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Martin

    Chosen as my first book of 2016 bought as a present, I enjoyed the factual story of Mr C but as with biographies it is just that. I think it's a great read for aspiring actors and interested parties but will look forward to an Autobiography one day too!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ben Baker

    A smart, well-informed take on a pretty straightforward life. There's no real arc or drama to Cumberbatch's life so its admirable that the author gets such an interesting book out of it. You dont have to be a Sherlock Holmes to see that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111 (Sherlock)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    Interesting book, I learned a thing or two that I didn't low previously (and I'm a HUGE fan), but there were a few silly mistakes and omissions.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Karyn Mitchell

    i dont normally read biographies but this was actually a really intresting and enjoyable read and i loved finding out some intresting facts about one of my favourite actors.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Keiti

    I am big fan of Benedict Cumberbacth, but I don't think it is very good biography.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Angela Smith

    Only gets three stars because there was nothing particularly new in the information in this book that you couldn't pick up, browsing around the net. Still interesting to read though.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alexey Spectre

    Got to translate this book in Russian. A very sympathetic and well-written biography. I was largely oblivious to Benedict Cumberbatch before that, but now I can say I like him as a person.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cherise Stone

    let's face it, it was never going to be anything less than 5 stars!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Fine book about a rising star who is everywhere. I think the man is more interesting than the book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Maj

    Basically a compilation of interview articles strung together by a few sentences here and there. As an overview of BC's life and work it's adequate but don't expect any depth or insight.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Charlie Head

    Biographies have never been my thing, but I finished this one easily. Good coverage or his childhood and his career, right up to his most recent projects. I enjoyed it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jamet Teather

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cara Smyth

  27. 4 out of 5

    Oyuntuguldur Unenhuu

  28. 4 out of 5

    Heili Salumae

  29. 5 out of 5

    Fabia

  30. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

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