Benedict Cumberbatch gets uncomfortable for ‘The Desolation of Smaug’

 

Smaug (a.k.a. Benedict Cumberbatch) looks pretty sharp at the premiere of "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." / Getty
The titular dragon (aka Benedict Cumberbatch) looks pretty sharp at the premiere of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” Credit: Getty

Most actors involved in the “Hobbit” film series talk about the joys of becoming de facto residents of New Zealand, moving to the lower hemisphere to film three movies back-to-back-to-back. But for Benedict Cumberbatch, who performs as the greedy dragon Smaug (including voice and motion capture — he also pulled double duty as the Necromancer) in “The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug” was there for barely more than a week. “That was the biggest con of doing this. Hearing all these stories of the live action harrowing-ness, and all the amazing work these people put in, I did my work in about eight days,” Cumberbatch says. “I feel like I’m the cheat at the table really.”

On top of that, while the bulk of his screen time is spent sparring with his “Sherlock” co-star, Martin Freeman, as titular hobbit Bilbo Baggins, he and Freeman weren’t actually present for any of each other’s performances. “I didn’t spend any sort of live time with Martin, which was sad,” he says. “We know each other quite well so we kind of second-guessed our performances in a weird way to some degree, I guess. It’s a very different dynamic, very different. [On 'Sherlock'] I’m in the room with him and I’m not the flying, psychotic napalm machine. I could be dismissive of him as Dr. Watson as my Sherlock, but they’re friends. Very different.”

While he and Freeman are old pals, there was a whole cast of co-stars he missed out on befriending. “Sadly, I met hardly any of the cast,” he says. “Richard [Armitage] and I met once. I crossed over with people as they were coming back to do, I think, their third stint. I’ve had scenes with people I haven’t even met yet. So that is bizarre.”

Also bizarre? Embodying a dragon for his motion-capture performance, something a bit more abstract and reptilian than Andy Serkis as Gollum. “It’s only going to be an impression of something that’s a serpentine reptile who can breathe fire and fly because I’m a limited biped mammal, sorry about that,” he jokes. “But Peter [Jackson] knew that when I auditioned. So we worked with my sort of negatives and tried to turn them into positives.”

That work involved quite a bit of contortion and discomfort. “One of the ways I did it was trying to squeeze my legs together, just forgetting the fact that they were legs, just trying to feel that as an elongated body crawling on the floor with my elbows and using my hands as claws and over-articulating my neck and shoulder, to the delight of any [physiotherapist] who was unlucky enough to try to heal me afterwards.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Train selfie star who got kicked in the…

  A 22-year-old Canadian man who posted a video of himself getting kicked in the head by a train conductor is set to cash in…

National

Call of Duty hoaxer blamed for $100K SWAT…

A heavilly-armed SWAT team and an army of police officers stormed a Long Island home fearing a grisly double homicide – only to find it…

National

Minnie Driver tweets naked celebrity snap to 'shut…

Actress Minnie Driver has responded to bitchy critics who sniped about her bikini body by Tweeting a naked picture of herself. The 44-year-old star of…

National

American middle classes no longer world's richest (guess…

America's middle classes are no longer the richest in the world – having been overtaken in the wealth stakes by their Canadian counterparts. For almost…

Television

John Turturro tags in for Robert De Niro…

The cast of the courtroom drama miniseries has undergone yet another shift. Following Robert De Niro's exit, the cable network has brought in John Turturro…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 22: 'Glee,' 'Agents…

'Glee' Rachel makes her Broadway debut in "Funny Girl." Remember when she was just a high school drama nerd? FOX, 8PM 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'…

The Word

Lindsay Lohan's big, drunk interview

Lindsay Lohan appears to be completely off the wagon now, if Kode magazine's chronicle of her trip to Coachella is any indication. According to the…

The Word

What we learned from the premiere of 'True…

Does watching someone's marriage implode make for great TV? The show runners at "True Tori" think Tori Spelling's heartbreak is hot stuff indeed.

NHL

Lundqvist, Rangers take control as Flyers falter in…

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist turned away 31 Flyers shots to give the Blueshirts the series edge with a 4-1 victory Tuesday nigh

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers,…

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees surge. The A's, Braves, Rangers, Giants and Rockies are also in the top 10.

NBA

Breaking down the Sixers top draft options

With the NBA Playoffs now in full force, there’s only one thing on the mind of Sixers fans at the moment -- the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery.

MLB

Metro one-on-one: Q&A with Phillies centerfielder Ben Revere

Charlie Manuel used to say that the Phillies go as Jimmy Rollins goes. Well, Ryne Sandberg might have a new Phillies catalyst, Ben Revere, in his midst.

Wellbeing

How to burn off all that Easter candy

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but you can't eat chocolate eggs and Jelly Bellys forever.

Food

Powdered alcohol: 5 things to know about 'Palcohol'

What's the deal with powdered alcohol? Here's what you need to know about Palcohol.

Travel

Travel hacks: 6 tips on living out of…

Lynne Martin shares her travel hacks on living out of just two suitcases.

Wellbeing

Tough Mudder pro gives tips on conquering a…

Learn hacks from head designer Nolan Kombol.