'Sherlock': Benedict Cumberbatch Beats Obama in Time 100 Online Poll
Recently, Time Magazine released its list of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World," with the final spot claimed by the winner in an online poll of 150 nominees.
While British actor Benedict Cumberbatch didn't snag the 100th slot -- which went to the hacking group Anonymous -- he did come in 7th in the voting, beating out such other luminaries as U.S. President Barack Obama, singer Lady Gaga, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and singer Adele.
He even came out ahead of his own sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II, who finished 75th (Her Majesty also lagged behind "Downton Abbey" star Maggie Smith, who just nipped her at 73rd).
"Apparently I beat the leader of the free world," says Cumberbatch, talking about edging past Obama. "How do you like that? It's ridiculous. I'm slightly flattered. It might be an alphabetical thing. It's crazy. It's really crazy. (A friend joked), 'Are you running for president?'
"Some of the people on that list of nominees have done fantastic things with their lives. Some of the people that aren't on that list, but should be, like teachers in the U.K, like doctors, like soldiers in f---ing wars, in combat situations which we can't possibly imagine, thousands of miles away; yeah, even some of the politicians -- some of them do very good things, all of them do very good things some of the time -- brain surgeons, midwives, parents. I'm not even a parent. Parents go through more than I do.
"There are lots of people I'd put ahead of myself, and that's not me being humble. Come on, you know what it's about. It's flavor-of-the-month stuff, and that scares me as much as it thrills me. I'm 35, and I've been doing this for 10 years. The point is, I thought, maybe I should start to do something with this moment.
"It's kind of inspiring in a way, because you look at it and think, 'I'm not really worthy of my entry in this.' It's bizarre and humbling and silly, rather than something to frame and look at and take very seriously."
In the poll at Time.com, the entry for Cumberbatch opened with, "Britons might be forgiven for thinking human cloning had already proved successful. How else to explain the ubiquity of an actor whose name is only slightly less angular than his face?"
When read that passage, Cumberbatch -- who's currently shooting director J.J. Abrams' second installment in his revival of the big-screen "Star Trek" franchise, and who returns on May 6 in the title role of the 21st-century reimagining of "Sherlock" on PBS' "Masterpiece Mystery!" -- responds with, "Crikey. I think it's much less angular than my face. It's all vowels. If my face was letters, it'd be consonants, I think, apart from my nose, which is a bit blobby. It might be an O or something.
"Enough of me talking about being letters. It's very funny; it's lovely; it's utterly silly; it's extraordinary. But at the same time, it made me think, f--k, I mean, this is a great thing. I need to take responsibility for this, in a way. This is a moment in my life, there's no getting away from it. It's an extraordinary one, and there's things I can do with it."
Well, he could appear in other other massive and legendary franchises.
"I have become involved in another one," he says. "'The Hobbit,' playing the Dragon and the Necromancer, so that should keep me in fine wine, as well as 'Sherlock,' so I suppose I'm part of three franchises. I plan on not getting involved in another one."
But what about "Dracula"?
"'Dracula'?" he says. "Funny you should say that, there's a script in the pipeline. I've been fighting it rather than being in it. There's a lot of Gothic in 'Sherlock.' I don't like to repeat myself too much. I think there are too many vampire franchises."
"It's too much of an obvious choice."
"We're back to the stereotyped casting. Come on. I want to do something with an American accent, so you won't recognize me."
How about John Steinbeck or Tennessee Williams, like "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"?
F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby"?
"Been done. It's already been done."
So what? "Sherlock" has already been done.
"Yeah. Well, like a lot of things in my life ... it'd be nice if the culture had a bit of time to breathe and not see another revival of the same thing again and again and again."
Shoot, you're in "Star Trek," after all.
"Well, I know, I know. That's fair enough."