Up until last night, Benedict Cumberbatch hasn’t been much of a presence on the Spider-Man: No Way Home press tour, even though Doctor Strange is a big factor in the movie. Most of his press appearances the last few months have been connected to The Power of the Dog, for which he is widely predicted to be nominated for Oscar Best Actor. So it makes obvious sense that his time commitment to this point would be there, pushing that project, since the film is considered one of the best of the year and will likely also be contending for Best Picture.
That said, if you’re only going to reserve participation on No Way Home, you might as well hold it for the big splashy Hollywood premiere. After all, Tom Holland, Peter Parker himself, and Zendaya are more than capable of carrying most of the load. Benedict’s coming in just before the movie opens, and it’s perfect timing to assist with this Oscar campaign. No Way Home is expected to be one of the biggest box office titles, if not the biggest, of the year and that versatility is a great look for Oscar strategy.
Benedict joined his younger co-stars last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live! just before the red carpet and struck exactly the right tone during his parts of the interview. He’s not there as the older, English actor who has so much to teach these kids. Rather he was there as their peer, as much of a mentor as he is a mentee, admiring what they bring to the franchise, how they’ve managed all the pressure and expectation that comes with a superhero franchise.
And there was also a Benedict surprise that happened during the appearance – courtesy Zendaya. It happens at the 5 minute 10 second mark here, when Jimmy shows of photo of Benedict on a skateboard:
He also surfs and snowboards. It’s a side to him that doesn’t come out that often, or that we’re not willing to see that often. An alternative to the poncy chap with the serious demeanour, Benedict can apparently shred and Shakespeare.
As for his look last night at the premiere, with wife Sophie Hunter, with the facial hair and the shaded glasses, on a night of superheroes, he seems to be one filling the Tony Stark spot. In more ways than one. After all, Doctor Strange is now Peter Parker’s mentor.