Sherlock is back on Masterpiece Mystery
Hot and modern Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson a hit on PBS
Move over Robert Downey Jr. The snarky big screen superhero may have a couple of blockbusters under his belt with the Iron Man franchise and the current boxoffice smash The Avengers, but when it comes to playing Sherlock Holmes, Benedict Cumberbatch is the new darling.
Masterpiece Mystery! Sherlock, Series 2 is a ratings winner on PBS. The show has brought back Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson for a new round of clever crime-solving in 21st century London in the brilliant production.
And its all thanks to the riveting performance by Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role, with help from Martin Freeman as his deadpan sidekick, Watson. And even the mastermind of evil Moriarty (Andrew Scott) works into the episodes for added intrigue.
Benedict has been praised from bringing “the perfect combination of IQ and GQ” to the PBS audience. He recently starred on the big screen in War Horse and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which also gained him accolades.
In the role of the updated Sherlock, Benedict puts a new spin on the role, but does pay homage to all the Sherlocks who have come before.
How does one go about playing someone as iconic as Holmes, yet make him contemporary?
Noting the fact that Sherlock is very much “a modern man in the books,” Benedict explains, “It is the most played literary fictional character. It’s in the Guinness Book of Records for it. I follow in the footsteps of about 230-odd people, in many different languages, and different ages, different times as well.”
While he admits that is daunting, Benedict says, “I think for any actor to play an iconic character there is a huge pressure that’s associated with delivering something that everyone knows culturally, especially in our country (England). I think everywhere now, really, with Holmes.”
“So it was quite nerve-racking, but there is an element of a blank canvas because of this brilliant reinvention and reinvigoration of him being a 21stcentury hero. I believe it maintains the integrity of author Arthur Conan Doyle’s original, much to the enjoyment of die-hard fans of the books. And hopefully it turns on kids to the books.”
Benedict did read the books before taking on the role. But he says, “I didn’t want to watch a lot of interpretations before filming. I had seen Jeremy Brett and Basil Rathbone, who are my two favorites, the ultimate late-Victorian Holmeses.”
Benedict’s favorite book on the adventures of Sherlock Holmes is “The Sign of Four.”
He recalls that he was about twelve years old when he first read a Sherlock Homes story. And he describes that he was “hungry for more” as he turned each page as the story unfolded.
“It’s very addictive reading, and it’s an utterly absorbing world in character. It’s thrilling as a child to read those books. You get drawn into a London which suddenly becomes alive like a pop-up book. It’s brilliant with this incredible, really rich tapestry of characters and extraordinary adventures.”
“It’s a real thrill to go into this world,” says Benedict Cumberbatch, the definitive star of the modern Sherlock adventures.