Benedict Cumberbatch talked with Out magazine about his role of Alan Turing in the upcoming The Imitation Game, and before we get into the details, I feel I should warn you that you may need to schedule some extra private bunk time into your day after this. In talking about Turing, the programming genius who saved millions of lives during World War II and was subsequently persecuted by the British government for being gay, Bens gets pretty worked up. If there’s one thing he can’t stand, it’s bigotry.
People are being beheaded in countries right now because of their beliefs or sexual orientations. It’s terrifying. It’s medieval — a beheading! I’d take up arms against someone who was telling me I had to believe in what they believed or they would kill me. I would fight them. I would fight them to the death. And, I believe, the older you get, you have to have an idea of what’s right or wrong. You can’t have unilateral tolerance. You have to have a point where you go, ‘Well, religious fundamentalism is wrong.’Cumberbatch clearly feels a deep connection with this movie and his role in it. He also has very strong feelings about that official pardon Turing finally got back in 2013.
It’s an insult for anybody of authority or standing to sign off on him with their approval and say, ‘Oh, he’s forgiven.’ The only person who should be [doing the] forgiving is Turing, and he can’t because we killed him. And it makes me really angry. It makes me very angry.Not abating his anger is the relevancy he sees in the film’s subject matter. Of Turing’s persecution, he says, “It’s not a history lesson — it’s a warning that this could very easily happen again.” Institutionalized bigotry is not a thing of the past. Cumberbatch says he sees it all the time in his own industry.
I think if you’re going to sell yourself as a leading man in Hollywood, to say ‘I’m gay,’ sadly, is still a huge obstacle. We all know actors who are [gay] who don’t want to talk about it or bring it up, or who deny it. I don’t really know what they do to deal with it… Human rights movements and sexual and gay rights movements have made huge social progress in the last 40 years, without a doubt, but there’s a lot more work to be done.
On a lighter note, Benny also took time to discuss the Sherlock fanfic that he totally knows you stay up nights writing.
[They] either want to make John [Watson] into a sort of cute little toy, or me into a cute toy, or we’re fucking in space on a bed, chained together.
It’s always, like, one of them is tired, one comes back from work, the other is horny, a lump appears in his trousers, and then they’re at it. It’s usually me getting it — I’m biting Watson’s dog tags… I think it’s about burgeoning sexuality in adolescence, because you don’t necessarily know how to operate that. And I think it’s a way of neutralizing the threat, so this person is sort of removed from them as somebody who could break their heart.
BRB, editing my fanfic, Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Bitten Dog Tags.