Benedict Cumberbatch before 'Sherlock': 10 earlier roles
1. In his first credited role, Cumberbatch played "Jeremy" -- an earnest and entirely forgettable journalist working with a main character in the British show, "Fields of Gold."
2. Later in that same year (2002), Cumberbatch had a larger role as a forensics student whose girlfriend gets murdered in "Silent Witness." It doesn't exactly end well for Cumberbatch's character of Warren either.
3. 2003 marked an important milestone for Cumberbatch. Not only was he a regular on the British series, "Fortysomething," but he was a regular whose name was "Rory Slippery."
Check out Hugh Laurie yelling at Cumberbatch in this clip. "House" and "Sherlock" together? Way to blow our minds, British TV!
4. By 2004, Cumberbatch was able to score a major leading role as Stephen Hawking in the TV movie, "Hawking." Did you really think Sherlock Holmes was his first genius?
5. Cumberbatch starred in a period piece, "To the Ends of the Earth," as Edmund Talbot. This role allowed audiences to see the actor have noisy sex while sailors drowned a prisoner on the ship's deck. Warning: This is a bit NSFW.
6. Working regularly in the British film industry by this point, Cumberbatch appeared as Paul Marshal in the 2007 film, "Atonement." The result is horribly creepy as his character flirts with a young girl.
"Bite it. You have to bite it."
7. In the 2008 film, "The Other Boleyn Girl," Cumberbatch was William Carey, the husband of Mary Boleyn.
(clips from the movie start at 4:12)
8. In 2009, Cumberbatch was in some strange production called "Burlesque Fairytales." Good luck finding any footage of this film online but it supposedly is a surreal story of a theater audience trapped and watching multi-media fairytales performed in the 1930s.
Here's some of the cast talking about the movie anyway.
9. Cumberbatch with a beard? That's what we got when he played the famous Vincent Van Gogh in "Van Gogh: Painted with Words." It's very pretty, only partially because of the paintings.
10. Finally, it's Sherlock vs. Sherlock in Danny Boyle's production of "Frankenstein" for the National Theatre in 2011 when Cumberbatch co-starred with Jonny Lee Miller ( "Elementary").