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People in Film | Benedict Cumberbatch
Updated October 14, 2011
From school plays to playing Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch has combined a shrewd intelligence with a sense of wonder and enthusiasm. These two qualities come together perfectly in his performance in TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY.
Benedict Cumberbatch | The Inside Man
Distinctive both in name and appearance, Benedict Cumberbatch plays the pivotal role of Peter Guillam -- the accomplice of George Smiley (Gary Oldman) in his quest to discover the identity of a Russian double agent -- in TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY. Being cast in this part was a dream come true for Cumberbatch for several reasons. First off, there’s the A-list cast, including Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, John Hurt, Tom Hardy and Ciarán Hinds. Cumberbatch quipped to The Guardian about the film’s talent roster, “That's a call sheet I'm going to frame and keep for ever.” Moreover, he rose to the dramatic challenge posed by playing Guilliam, a young impressionable British agent who is made to deceive the very institution to which he has sworn his allegiance. “It’s the kind of role, in the kind of film, that you crave to have as an actor because it involves subtle shifts, it’s not about everything being on enormous display,” he told the website Flicks and Bits. Indeed, as he told the Daily Mail, “I've always wanted to play a spy, because it is the ultimate acting exercise. You are never what you seem.” The elegance of his performance, showcasing both a confident intelligence and a deep emotional confusion, is not lost on critics. Xan Brooks of The Guardian applauds him: “Benedict Cumberbatch is mesmerizing as the well-groomed gentleman conspirator coming slowly apart at the seams.”