No one thought Benedict Cumberbatch was sexy when they hired him for ‘Sherlock’

For more on the newest season of "Sherlock" pick up this week’s issue of "Entertainment Weekly," on newsstands Friday, Jan. 17, 2014.
For more on the newest season of “Sherlock,” pick up this week’s issue of “Entertainment Weekly,” on newsstands Friday.

Are you surprised Benedict Cumbercatch is the hunk that Tumblr says he is? So are the producers of “Sherlock,” who hired him.

“Sherlock” showrunner Steven Moffat and producer Sue Vertue, who cast the thespian in the role, didn’t believe he could be regarded as, well, sexy. “When we first cast him, people were saying, ‘You promised us a sexy one!’” remembers producer Sue Vertue in the cover story of this week’s Entertainment Weekly. “People weren’t thinking of Benedict in that light at all.” His name also didn’t help. “When people said, ‘Who’s playing Sherlock Holmes?’ and we’d say, ‘Benedict Cumberbatch,’ everyone looked very vague,” recalls Vertue. “Then we’d always have to spell his name.”

Everyone had their doubts before the first episode aired. “For me, it is a winter show,” says Cumberbatch. “It’s not something you watch when you’ve got the dying light on the hottest day. So I was a bit despondent,” he recalls. But after the debut — and when he saw how quickly social media latched onto the BBC drama — Cumberbatch realized his life was going to change forever.

“The immediate response was exciting,” he says. “My name: trending, trending, trending. I didn’t even know what ‘trending’ was before that night. I literally thought searchlights were going to find us in Sue and Steve’s garden and that there was going to be this bank of paparazzi when we walked out.”

“After the first episode,” says Vertue, “we never had to spell his name.”


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