Benedict Cumberbatch’s campaign of inclusion

It’s mid-October, which means that award season is in full swing, and as such the actors starring in award bait are beginning to lay the foundation of their Oscar campaigns. We’re still over a month away from Benedict Cumberbatch’s The Imitation Game opening in the US, but he’s got a profile in Out in support of the film. It’s a generally thoughtful, interesting profile and you can see one of the tacks he’s taking on the road to Oscar—he’s talking up Alan Turing’s sexuality and the tragedy of how that ended up costing Turing everything, as well as costing the world at large his genius.

Besides being relevant to the magazine’s target audience, it’s smart to talk about the politics of sexuality depicted in the film than the genius aspect for two reasons: 1) The Batch plays a lot of geniuses, a fact which is touched on in the interview, and he’ll want to downplay anything that smacks of type-casting, and 2) Eddie Redmayne will also be campaigning for playing a genius, so Turing’s sexuality is a point of divergence Cumberbatch can emphasize to set himself apart. I’m not yet convinced the old fart voters in the Academy are going to be able to separate The Imitation Game from The Theory of Everything, so it’s in his best interests to make his performance as Turing stand out as much as possible.

It also allows him to talk about boys at boarding school and he goes in pretty hard on Harrow not being the most inclusive place. He also takes Hollywood to task for not being as inclusive as it thinks it is, for out gay men still have a hard time cracking the top tier of leading men roles. It’s a tricky line to toe—Hollywood much prefers having its ass kissed—but he handles it well. He doesn’t sound bitter or angry, just a little jaded and candid, offering a gentle reminder that despite all the gains made in human rights over the last decades, we still have a ways to go. The Batch has his interview game locked down.

Of course they also talk about his fans. During the interview The Batch spots some women wearing floral prints, and sure enough, one approaches. Lainey forwarded me a baffling email from a reader, J, that said “Just FYI there's a call out to BC fans attending events to wear florals. Big obnoxious florals”. We were both like, Huh? But then I read the complete Out interview and it makes sense now. I never understand these decisions, though. Is he supposed to make the connection between a random woman interrupting him and people suddenly wearing flower prints at his premieres? Or is it just a signal to the other Cumberbabes in the crowd? What is this behavior, exactly? What is it supposed to accomplish? I’m seriously asking.

Click here to read the full Out article.

Also attached – Cumberbatch shooting The Hollow Crown in costume as Richard III the other day.

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