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Benedict Cumberbatch: In Transition: An Unauthorised Performance Biography

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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse, Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Hobbit trilogy, Twelve Years a Slave, August: Osage County, The Fifth Estate; Hedda Gabler, After the Dance, Frankenstein; Hawking, To the Ends of the Earth, The Last Enemy, Parade’s End, and, of course, Sherlock. For most actors, these stellar cinematic, theatrical, and television events would be the high Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse, Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Hobbit trilogy, Twelve Years a Slave, August: Osage County, The Fifth Estate; Hedda Gabler, After the Dance, Frankenstein; Hawking, To the Ends of the Earth, The Last Enemy, Parade’s End, and, of course, Sherlock. For most actors, these stellar cinematic, theatrical, and television events would be the highlights of a lifetime’s work. On Benedict Cumberbatch’s résumé they are only a few of many entries. Especially since 2010, his performances have garnered a plethora of best actor awards, both in the theatre (Evening Standard Theatre Award, Critics Circle Theatre Award, and Olivier Award), by playing the dual roles of Victor Frankenstein and the Creature in the National Theatre’s Frankenstein, and on television (Broadcasting Press Guild Award, Critics Choice Television Award, Crime Thriller Award, and TV Choice Award), by starring as the titular Holmes in the BBC’s Sherlock. Add these and other recent accolades to nearly a decade’s nominations and awards (such as the Golden Nymph as best actor in Hawking), and it’s easy to see why Benedict Cumberbatch is often hailed as the actor of his generation. Cumberbatch’s body of work further includes indie films, radio plays and series, television documentaries, live dramatic readings, multimedia advertisements, and even the occasional stint as a fashion model. He often shares an intriguing perspective on his profession, as evidenced in sometimes controversial interviews. He has become so much in demand that online box offices crash when tickets for his performances go on sale, and, before a Cheltenham Literature Festival Q&A session, fans overwhelmed Twitter when so many responded immediately to a call for questions. Cumberbatch consistently is a top name on lists ranging from sex appeal to global influence. In 2012 he beat David Beckham in the former and U.S. President Barack Obama in the latter. Increasingly, part of Cumberbatch’s job involves the role of celebrity. Benedict Cumberbatch is at a pivotal point in his profession, and his career trajectory—especially as documented in entertainment media—permits a closer examination of just what it means to be a celebrity or star in Britain or the U.S. and how an actor may be perceived very differently in London or Hollywood. This performance biography is an analysis of a man in transition from working actor to multimedia star, as well as the balance between actor and celebrity. It looks at what makes this actor so well suited to play one of popular culture’s iconic characters, Sherlock Holmes, and how Sherlock is so well suited to propel Cumberbatch toward greater global fame.


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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse, Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Hobbit trilogy, Twelve Years a Slave, August: Osage County, The Fifth Estate; Hedda Gabler, After the Dance, Frankenstein; Hawking, To the Ends of the Earth, The Last Enemy, Parade’s End, and, of course, Sherlock. For most actors, these stellar cinematic, theatrical, and television events would be the high Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse, Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Hobbit trilogy, Twelve Years a Slave, August: Osage County, The Fifth Estate; Hedda Gabler, After the Dance, Frankenstein; Hawking, To the Ends of the Earth, The Last Enemy, Parade’s End, and, of course, Sherlock. For most actors, these stellar cinematic, theatrical, and television events would be the highlights of a lifetime’s work. On Benedict Cumberbatch’s résumé they are only a few of many entries. Especially since 2010, his performances have garnered a plethora of best actor awards, both in the theatre (Evening Standard Theatre Award, Critics Circle Theatre Award, and Olivier Award), by playing the dual roles of Victor Frankenstein and the Creature in the National Theatre’s Frankenstein, and on television (Broadcasting Press Guild Award, Critics Choice Television Award, Crime Thriller Award, and TV Choice Award), by starring as the titular Holmes in the BBC’s Sherlock. Add these and other recent accolades to nearly a decade’s nominations and awards (such as the Golden Nymph as best actor in Hawking), and it’s easy to see why Benedict Cumberbatch is often hailed as the actor of his generation. Cumberbatch’s body of work further includes indie films, radio plays and series, television documentaries, live dramatic readings, multimedia advertisements, and even the occasional stint as a fashion model. He often shares an intriguing perspective on his profession, as evidenced in sometimes controversial interviews. He has become so much in demand that online box offices crash when tickets for his performances go on sale, and, before a Cheltenham Literature Festival Q&A session, fans overwhelmed Twitter when so many responded immediately to a call for questions. Cumberbatch consistently is a top name on lists ranging from sex appeal to global influence. In 2012 he beat David Beckham in the former and U.S. President Barack Obama in the latter. Increasingly, part of Cumberbatch’s job involves the role of celebrity. Benedict Cumberbatch is at a pivotal point in his profession, and his career trajectory—especially as documented in entertainment media—permits a closer examination of just what it means to be a celebrity or star in Britain or the U.S. and how an actor may be perceived very differently in London or Hollywood. This performance biography is an analysis of a man in transition from working actor to multimedia star, as well as the balance between actor and celebrity. It looks at what makes this actor so well suited to play one of popular culture’s iconic characters, Sherlock Holmes, and how Sherlock is so well suited to propel Cumberbatch toward greater global fame.

30 review for Benedict Cumberbatch: In Transition: An Unauthorised Performance Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hanine ϟ

    Oh, boy! Oh, boy! Oh, boy! We're getting so close to the release date!! Oh, boy! Oh, boy! Oh, boy! We're getting so close to the release date!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    sleepy

    I JUST LOVE BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH OKAY? I JUST LOVE BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH OKAY?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Clare

    Unlike most "Teeny-bopper" type biographical books that start to come out after an actor has suddenly become famous, this book does NOT focus on the torrid aspects of Mr. Cumberbatch's life. It does not attempt to invade his privacy, nor does it encourage the reader to desire to do that. It's a very respectful book which immediately sets forth it's mission statement at the beginning as an attempt not to determine who the *man* Benedict Cumberbatch is... because, really, that's his business until Unlike most "Teeny-bopper" type biographical books that start to come out after an actor has suddenly become famous, this book does NOT focus on the torrid aspects of Mr. Cumberbatch's life. It does not attempt to invade his privacy, nor does it encourage the reader to desire to do that. It's a very respectful book which immediately sets forth it's mission statement at the beginning as an attempt not to determine who the *man* Benedict Cumberbatch is... because, really, that's his business until he decides to write an autobiography or authorize a biography... but instead to look at his body of work. Who is he is an artist? What type of work has he chosen to do, what types of reviews has it received? How do people who know him perceive his career? This is an impressive and very well written book obviously intended for the adult fans of Mr. Cumberbatch who have completely fallen for him because of his incredible talent and the fact that in spite of being rich, handsome and talented he's still kind and not a jackass. I really enjoyed reading this, it gave me new insight on things I'd already seen --to watch again with better understanding (or simply different ways of looking at things.) Highly recommended to anyone who finds Mr. Cumberbatch's acting inspiring and would like to read more analysis on it. This is the one book I've seen that is not a gushy, teenage love fest type Bio.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nicki Markus

    Benedict Cumberbatch: In Transition offers the reader an interesting overview of Benedicts performances to 2012 and analyses some of his key roles to date including his work in general as an actor and as a 'celebrity'. One of the plus factors in this book for me is that it concentrates on his work and not on celebrity gossip. This is a book well suited to the more intellectually-minded Cumberbatch fan. Benedict Cumberbatch: In Transition offers the reader an interesting overview of Benedicts performances to 2012 and analyses some of his key roles to date including his work in general as an actor and as a 'celebrity'. One of the plus factors in this book for me is that it concentrates on his work and not on celebrity gossip. This is a book well suited to the more intellectually-minded Cumberbatch fan.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    While I enjoyed this book, I found it extraordinarily tedious. The author is extremely long winded, has gotten a number of facts wrong, and I just felt as though the book would never end. I would recommend it, however. Just be prepared. It's as dry as paper. While I enjoyed this book, I found it extraordinarily tedious. The author is extremely long winded, has gotten a number of facts wrong, and I just felt as though the book would never end. I would recommend it, however. Just be prepared. It's as dry as paper.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    So, first: I'm not a fan of Cumberbatch's Sherlock. It's not his fault, he's a fine actor; I simply didn't like Moffat's writing. But I loved him in 'Cabin Pressure' and I have saw him in enough movies to get curious about this biography. And I must say, I really enjoyed the beginning, the recount of his early career, the description of his approach to acting... I liked that it stayed the hell away of gossip and his personal life and it focused instead in his acting career. But then... it become So, first: I'm not a fan of Cumberbatch's Sherlock. It's not his fault, he's a fine actor; I simply didn't like Moffat's writing. But I loved him in 'Cabin Pressure' and I have saw him in enough movies to get curious about this biography. And I must say, I really enjoyed the beginning, the recount of his early career, the description of his approach to acting... I liked that it stayed the hell away of gossip and his personal life and it focused instead in his acting career. But then... it become so biased! The last third, particularly, was a fest of uncritical praise and flattery. ~sigh~ Nevertheless, I liked it and specially enjoyed the little peeks from behind the scene. If you are a fan of Cumberbatch, you'll probably will enjoy this a lot :D

  7. 5 out of 5

    David Meyer

    I enjoyed the pieces about Sherlock and some of the descriptions of Cumberbatch, the person, but found myself bored by most of the rest of this book. I was hoping it would lead me to feel the need to look up some of Cumberbath's other works, but none of the descriptions excited me as much as I'd hoped. I enjoyed the pieces about Sherlock and some of the descriptions of Cumberbatch, the person, but found myself bored by most of the rest of this book. I was hoping it would lead me to feel the need to look up some of Cumberbath's other works, but none of the descriptions excited me as much as I'd hoped.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Iulia Sabou

    for the love of Benedict 💚

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katie Brock

    The first one looked at the start of his career- this one, although shorter, focused on later ones and had much more to it, from individual projects to some not so perfect behaviour in the eye of the paparazzi. That being said- these books are written in the academic style by someone who works in an academic background. There are quotes and reviews from various sources all back up with references. Obviously there's been a lot if research done during the writing of this book. I like that it's not The first one looked at the start of his career- this one, although shorter, focused on later ones and had much more to it, from individual projects to some not so perfect behaviour in the eye of the paparazzi. That being said- these books are written in the academic style by someone who works in an academic background. There are quotes and reviews from various sources all back up with references. Obviously there's been a lot if research done during the writing of this book. I like that it's not very fangirly. You can tell that Porter is a fan bit the fact is never obviously stated. It's not just someone writing a book to fangirl over Benedict. It's an informative piece of writing that looks at his work in more depth. This book looks at his work post - Sherlock and his rise in Hollywood through various blockbuster films (Star Trek, The Hobbit, 12 Years a Slave...) as well as other mediums such as radio and theatre. He has a wide range of skills making him a very diverse actor. The way this book is written and laid out demonstrates that. Using chapter titles as links to make the book flow as well is a subtle way to compare his work without being too critical. A transitional biography is a clever way to look at an actors life in the premise of work rather than personal life- yes there's hints, but the main focus here is Benedict the actor not Benedict the man. I'll definitely flip through it again, to reinform myself of various films. 4/5 stars. I did prefer the first one but I'd also like her to write more as he continues to act. I'm sure we haven't heard the last of Benedict Cumberbatch just yet.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Mr. Cumberbatch will always inspire me with his approach to acting, which includes research, physical changes, and alot of mental preparation. This book gave me a tiny insight to his style, and I'm very grateful for that. On the downside, this book was very biased and did not have many facts to back up the authors main argument. I would have loved the book even more if I could have been left at the end with a decision to make, instead of being pushed over the cliff of Benedict Cumberbatch is AWE Mr. Cumberbatch will always inspire me with his approach to acting, which includes research, physical changes, and alot of mental preparation. This book gave me a tiny insight to his style, and I'm very grateful for that. On the downside, this book was very biased and did not have many facts to back up the authors main argument. I would have loved the book even more if I could have been left at the end with a decision to make, instead of being pushed over the cliff of Benedict Cumberbatch is AWESOME. (He is, but hopefully you get my point!) The book aside, Benedict will surely be on my favorite actors list for years to come.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jacky

    Really enjoyed reading this type of biography. Completely free of the normal pap stuff one finds in such books & focused on the actual acting career / ways of going about taking on characters played in movies/ tv shows . Loved that it spans his wide variety of interests in taking on parts. Even go to know some stuff I hadn't heard or seen. A rare insight in how things work behind the screens re preparing or choosing parts.very refreshing to read & loved the writing style. Hoping there will be mo Really enjoyed reading this type of biography. Completely free of the normal pap stuff one finds in such books & focused on the actual acting career / ways of going about taking on characters played in movies/ tv shows . Loved that it spans his wide variety of interests in taking on parts. Even go to know some stuff I hadn't heard or seen. A rare insight in how things work behind the screens re preparing or choosing parts.very refreshing to read & loved the writing style. Hoping there will be more to follow up on with Mr Cumberbatch.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    A well reasoned, researched and thought out biography giving some background into the actor but mainly focusing on his works and how he went about portraying the characters he chose, and continues choosing, to play. The focus on his professional career and his "personal", rather than truly private, life as well as the lack of speculation into "what it all means" is truly refreshing. I wish more celebrity biographies were produced in the same, responsible manner. A well reasoned, researched and thought out biography giving some background into the actor but mainly focusing on his works and how he went about portraying the characters he chose, and continues choosing, to play. The focus on his professional career and his "personal", rather than truly private, life as well as the lack of speculation into "what it all means" is truly refreshing. I wish more celebrity biographies were produced in the same, responsible manner.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Katie Brock

    If you're a fan of Mr Cumberbatch, this is a book I would recommend. It is written academically and also very insightful into his work- which is what I liked about it. It's not a book about his life and his love life and things like that, it's a book about various performances that have made him stand out from other actors. I'll be putting a full review on my blog (in the description) I enjoyed this book immensely though. If you're a fan of Mr Cumberbatch, this is a book I would recommend. It is written academically and also very insightful into his work- which is what I liked about it. It's not a book about his life and his love life and things like that, it's a book about various performances that have made him stand out from other actors. I'll be putting a full review on my blog (in the description) I enjoyed this book immensely though.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Steve Emecz

    Really enjoyed this. The first review is out too - http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_... The book comes out on June 10th - with a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/benedictcumb.... Really enjoyed this. The first review is out too - http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_... The book comes out on June 10th - with a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/benedictcumb....

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ali

    Interesting enough though writing style a bit po faced. Best bit about it is that it is focused on the acting work and has very little reference to personal life gossip.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Vishnuprasad

    I got this book from a giveaway on Goodreads. Although it's a unauthenticated (I think it's the best to describe it), it was fun to read about the journey of one of your favourite actors. I got this book from a giveaway on Goodreads. Although it's a unauthenticated (I think it's the best to describe it), it was fun to read about the journey of one of your favourite actors.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chrissy

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gosjija

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anna Davis

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  21. 4 out of 5

    augustecomte

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jana Zobaníková

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jade (notanotherbibliophile)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chlo

  25. 4 out of 5

    H. David

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ioana

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alice Bubblechick

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth J D Parker

  29. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Lu

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nathalie

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