Interesting interview with Benedict Cumberbatch about Season 2 of Sherlock currently airing in the US on PBS. Apparently HBO considered picking up the show at one point, but decided not to because it has too few episodes (3 every season):
But there’s also the complaint of not having more volume or capacity. HBO wanted [to air “Sherlock”], but was like, “Three [episodes]? Come on — we do series.” Although now they’re kicking themselves [for not picking up the show], but there you go. But the thing is, we do one-and-a- half hour films, and if you really want to be pedantic, that’s nine half-hour episodes, so it’s not far off from a 12-episode series.
Cumberbatch on the reaction of his fellow actors to his current success (and being self-deprecating about his looks, heh):
Maybe that’s the case, but most of my friends who are actors are just really, really thrilled with what I’ve got. It’s kind of humbling, actually, just to be that supported by people. People say, “It’s really nice it’s happened to somebody we’ve watched be good over the years.” And at least, you know, I’ve started at the same level with everybody. And it’s nice because I’m not as good-looking as James and there’s an awful lot I can’t do that they can do. And it’s great that just by craft you can get where I’ve gone. That’s really thrilling. I’m very grateful for the opportunities that I’ve been given.
Cumberbatch encouraging people to watch Sherlock instead of Game of Thrones:
You’re in the middle of the season of “Game of Thrones” now. Take three weeks for a watercooler moment, give yourselves a break from slaving through 12 episodes of quality, and just look at three films of quality. Then you can get back to watching your recordings. And you’ll need something to look forward to after the three [episodes of “Sherlock”] because you’ll be craving for more. How pompous does that sound? [Laughs.]
On how damaged Sherlock Holmes is or isn’t:
I don’t think he’s damaged at all. I think it’s all self-inflicted. I think what this [season] is about is humanizing him, making you realize there’s actually an adolescent that is being repressed from childhood purposely in order try and become the ultimate, calculating deduction machine. And he can’t actually do that. These three challenges [in Season 2, one in each episode] humanize him through love, horror and the ultimate thriller, I suppose, through his faceoff with Moriarty. I think what we try to do anyway is remind the audience that somebody that they have fallen in love with for being heroic is somebody who had to let vulnerability into his life, as he sees it, which is emotion, a moral compass of some sort, honor, defending your friends and what you hold dear, and actually being on the side of the good guys.
On what “happines” means to Sherlock Holmes:
[Sits up, contemplates.] I think happiness for Sherlock is knowing that he’s right. It’s really that simple. [Another pause.] He gets solace out of the violin, he gets solace out of intellect and talent. I don’t think he finds happiness in that. I think the only time he’s truly joyful is when the game is on, the hunt’s afoot and there’s something to be solved — and then when he’s solved it. And during the in-between he gets very frustrated with things, with the process. Not his inadequacies, because he doesn’t see himself as having many. But it’s the beginning and the end of things he loves. That’s what makes him happy. Having a problem and solving it.