Tuesday 17 September 2019

Remainer Benedict Cumberbatch says it’s a ‘hell of a role’ playing Leave boss

The Sherlock star plays Dominic Cummings in Brexit: The Uncivil War.

Benedict Cumberbatch campaigned for the UK to stay in the EU (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Benedict Cumberbatch campaigned for the UK to stay in the EU (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

By Alex Green, Press Association Entertainment Reporter

Benedict Cumberbatch has described playing the director of the Vote Leave campaign as a “hell of a role”.

The actor, who campaigned for the UK to stay in the European Union, plays Brexiteer Dominic Cummings in the Channel 4 film Brexit: The Uncivil War.

Interviewed by Cummings’ wife, Mary Wakefield, for the Spectator magazine, the actor described the referendum campaign as “the most extraordinary story” which read like a “thriller”.

He said: “I took the role because of the script.

“I’ve been a big fan of [British playwright] James Graham from This House onwards and I thought, how extraordinary that I’m reading a script that reads like a thriller, when I know the outcome.

“I’m being sucked into it – these characters, their intelligence, the wit of it, the emotional power of the drama. I realised this is what drama can do at its best.

“At the time you don’t have foresight to understand the significance of these events. They just happen, then lo and behold.

“The campaign was the most extraordinary story, one of the most extraordinary stories in all the history of politics.

“It really encapsulated that for me. It’s a hell of a role playing your husband!”

Cumberbatch and Sir Patrick Stewart led more than 280 actors, musicians and artists in calling on the UK to vote to stay.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Dominic Cummings in Brexit: The Uncivil War (Matt Crossick/PA)

The Sherlock star said he now felt a responsibility to accurately portray the architects of the Brexit vote, especially those who were not politicians and were therefore outside the public eye.

Cumberbatch singled out Cummings and Sir Craig Oliver, the former BBC journalist who served as director of communications for David Cameron during the referendum, as figures worth exploring.

He said: “I think you kind of have a responsibility. People know more about the politicians that were in the public eye during that campaign, rather than those on the other side like Craig Oliver and Dom.

“It does feel like a responsibility to get him right.”

Brexit: The Uncivil War airs on Channel 4 in January 2019.

PA Media

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