Benedict Cumberbatch On Borrowing From His Dad To Become The Dragon In The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
Benedict Cumberbatch sits in a makeshift Lake Town to discuss playing the dragon in 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' with Access Hollywood, Dec. 3, 2013 -- Access Hollywood
Benedict Cumberbatch brings to life the enormous (in stature and in greed) dragon in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," opening next Friday.
Movie watchers got a brief glimpse of Benedict's slithery, fire-breathing character in the first installment of director Peter Jackson's trilogy, but this time around he has a heavy presence as the dwarves (with Bilbo Baggins) attempt to reclaim the Lonely Mountain.
On Tuesday, Benedict sat down with Access Hollywood, where the Brit discussed experiencing the film's big Hollywood premiere earlier this week, and borrowing his version of Smaug from his father, who read him "The Hobbit" as a bedtime story, as a child.
AccessHollywood.com: How was the premiere on Monday?
Benedict Cumberbatch: Great, I mean, huge. I've never been to that theater before. I've never seen a film in Hollywood, Hollywood, that part of Hollywood. ... I've only ever seen things at the ArcLight maybe, a couple of times, so to be in the [Dolby] Theatre where they do the Oscars -- it is a real thrill. And where Peter [Jackson], Fran [Walsh] and Philippa [Boyens] went up on stage to get their Oscar [for 'Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King'] as well, so it was kind of a buzz. And after everyone had been in, I dashed out at one point to go to the bathroom and just sort of looked around and went, 'Wow!' It's kind of hallowed turf for our industry. It's an incredible space to be in.
Access: And the Walk of Fame is there.
Benedict: I didn't see the Walk of Fame. The Walk of Fame was covered with the most amazing number of fans. ... That was sort of where that was, somewhere underneath all of that, but [there] was the huge part of it outside as well that I just didn't expect at all -- that whole side of the street opposite and the most aggressive, angry bunch of photographers I've ever encountered, actually, on a red carpet.
Access: Were there more members of the Cumberbitches (Benedict's fans) or the Armitage Army (Richard Armitage's fans) there do you think?
Benedict: (Laughs) No one's counting. I'm certainly not. Listen, I'm amazed at the loyal support that I have and the lengths people go to to go there and I'm only disappointed that I didn't get a chance to speak to everyone individually. Otherwise, people inside the theater would be aging by the time I got in there because there were so many people.
Access: It's so wonderful how [the fans] dress up too.
Benedict: It's great. It is great. I didn't see that many fancy dress or proper kind of -- I just didn't see them. I'm sure they were there and I apologize to any of you who were there... but ... it's such a blur when you get out of that car. There's so much to take in and it's only when you really wake up the next morning you kind of go, 'Damn! I wish there was a way of relishing it.' 'Cause it is a flash bulb moment. The whole thing is just sort of dazzling.
Access: What were your first thoughts when you first saw Smaug?
Benedict: I was blown away, but even more so [at the premiere]. I saw it in 24 frames, and 48 frames, for all of its critics, for the dragon, it is incredible. ... It feels like something that is really in the same space as Bilbo's... And it's an odd sensation when you watch yourself -- and you're in your own audience anyway as an actor, but let alone when it's then sort of 20 percent of your work. Then you can kind of sit back and go, 'That is amazing,' 'cause it's so sort of devoid of who you are or what you are. [Watching the film the] second time around, I could see -- especially when we were facing off against one another in the more sort of close scenes and with Thorin before that huge statue of gold -- I could see stuff that they got from facial capture, 'cause I did a whole load of stuff... physically to give a little bit of flavor of character and emotion to the movement and some kind of anthropomorphic human quality to him.