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Benedict Cumberbatch: ‘I’m not leaving my country or the theatre’

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch takes a question during a press conference for the movie "The Fifth Estate" during the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013.

Galit Rodan/The Canadian Press

Benedict Cumberbatch, who has roles in three major movies – The Fifth Estate, 12 Years a Slave and August: Osage County – at TIFF this year, said this "slight embarrassment of riches" won't prevent him from returning to theatre.

"I'm not leaving home, my country or the theatre. I'm not leaving anything," he said Friday during a press conference for The Fifth Estate.

In fact, in some ways, he's still doing a kind of theatre, thanks to the worldwide success (seen in 180 countries) of the British television series Sherlock. Cumberbatch, who plays Sherlock Holmes, wrapped the third season of the show last week before coming to TIFF.

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The Sherlock set at 187 North Gower Street in London (standing in for Holmes and Watson's 221B Baker Street) has become a shrine for fans of the series, Cumberbatch noted.

"Obviously, when you're shooting on location in a busy metropolitan area, you get people stopping to have a look, being curious about what you're doing," he said.

"It's sort of our office. But people fly from around the world to spend hours watching us, and hours even before you arrive, to wait to watch you. It becomes a bit little like street theatre. It's another level of performance anxiety. It's very hard to focus on your day job, which is to concentrate on your director and the camera set-up and your fellow artists."

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About the Author
Film critic

Liam Lacey is a film critic for The Globe and Mail. More

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