Although you’ve likely heard of Benedict Cumberbatch, you likely hadn’t until a few years ago when he blew up on the scene in Sherlock, BBC’s modernization of Sherlock Holmes. As many someones have recently told me: he’s not really all that attractive, and even a little weird looking.
I heartily...agree. He is a little weird looking, but in the best way possible. I don’t think he would be as approachable as he is if he wasn’t slightly weird looking. He also wouldn’t have gotten the roles he’s gotten if he were classically handsome. He’s a damn good actor, and in this case the whole is greater than the sum of his parts. I could also make the point that many female models make their careers being “ugly-pretty,” and plenty of actors make their careers on being just plain ugly, forget the pretty. But what makes Cumberbunnies so rabid about his sex appeal?
Before we delve into that, you should know some Cumberbatch fandom terms. Many Cumberbatch female fans are called Cumberbunnies, a term I prefer over the Twitter handle-turned-fan-club, Cumberbitches, and it’s a term even Cumberbatch has a slight issue with (and shows his feminist leanings), quoting from an InStyle interview:
I wish my 15-year-old self had known about my allure to the opposite sex! It’s flattering, though I do worry about what it says for feminism, it’s quite a perjorative term. Cumberbabes might be better.
Other terms you might hear in reference to Cumberbatch himself are (but are not restricted to): Cucumber-pants, Cumber-otter, Butterscotch Crumplebatch, Bandersome Cumbersnatch, (as you can imagine, there are several “snatch” and “cumber” references that are NSFW so I will preserve your sensibilities and not include those in the list, but allow your mind to wander for a moment and you’ll have a good laugh), and in light of his recent turn as Smaug the Dragon in The Hobbit, Benedragon Cumbersmaug. A hat tip must go to my most excellent friend, Angie Barry, a blogger at our sister-site Criminal Element, for both the ideas for his nicknames and aiding me in this forthcoming list.
So besides the endless list of naughty nicknames you can give the wonderful Benedict, there are other decent reasons to love him—both physical and personality/talent-based:
1. He has the voice of “a jaguar hiding in a cello:“
That beautifully accurate descriptor was coined by The Times’ Caitlin Moran and a never-more perfect description has ever been declared for his voice, nor likely will ever be. It resonates, it purrs, it’s as deep as the Grand Canyon and smooth. And, for anyone with an accent-fetish, his accent is undeniably British. Did we mention he was educated at Harrow, one of Britain’s premiere boys schools with prominent alumni including The Princess Bride’s Cary Elwes and Winston Churchill? As his turn as Sherlock Holmes in the BBC’s modernization, Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch along with his best buddy/flatmate, John Watson played by Martin Freeman, analyze some of the most twisted and clever plotlines I have ever scene on television. He is deeply arrogant and proud in this role and his resonant tones could not be more perfect.
Check out this trailer from Star Trek: Into Darkness. He plays a ”Big Bad" but his voice is all good!
2. He gives a good name to ginger men everywhere:
When Benedict Cumberbatch first came to notice we knew him with his floppy mop of dark Sherlock curls, but believe it or not, he’s naturally a ginger—or auburn, which is slightly more acceptable for men. We’ll see him again with his signature curls when he resumes his Sherlock role this winter. In the meantime, he will still sport his short dark hair in Star Trek: Into Darkness for those of you who prefer him that way. As a ginger myself, I typically don’t find fellow ginger-men that attractive but Benedict (yes, we’re on a first name basis, at least in my head) can rock the ginger, as well as any other hair color he chooses to dye his hair. And he has dyed his hair pretty much every color there is and best of all there’s cinematic evidence: bleach blond in his upcoming The Fifth Estate, sandy blond for War Horse and the play Frankenstein, light brown in Atonement, and then of course his dark mop in Sherlock.
3. His eyes…and his legs…and his hands…and his cheekbones…
Okay, we know that the whole is greater than the sum of his parts, but the sum of his parts is pretty epically big (which is why the whole is so great and makes the fangirls squee). He’s not classically handsome, and not classically beefcake-y as we so enjoy on this site, but you could just listen to that voice (that voice!) and watch those lips and look into those eyes and forget for a moment that all together his face might be a trifle long, and his nose a trifle big. Benedict has mentioned in the past that he knows he isn’t classically handsome and he’s always surprised by the avidness of his fans, however those piercing eyes, long, strong hands, and beautiful legs certainly fuel the fantasies of every fangirl (this one included).
4. He’s classically trained and talented to boot:
Anytime someone wants to brag about how fabulous they’re favorite actor or actress is, the phrase “but…but, they’re classically trained!” comes into the conversation at some point. But really, guys…he’s classically trained. He not only got the Harrow training I told you about, but he has both a B.A. and M.A. in Drama and Classical Acting for Professional Theatre, respectively. These aren’t just flimsy bits of paper and simple words to be banded about. He has been nominated for four BAFTAs, a Golden Globe and a Olivier Award for Best Actor along with Johnny Lee Miller for their dual portrayal of Frankenstein and his monster in the stage production of Frankenstein.
5. He’s hilarious:
He’s self-deprecating, willing to humiliate himself for a laugh, does great impressions and is sincere through it all, which is always what sells a good joke. Really, I can tell you how hilarious he is, but this fan video of some of his funnier interviews and talk show appearances can do it better justice. It is my final gift to you and if you have not fallen in love with him by now, I believe there is no hope for humanity.
Jennifer Proffitt is a Midwest transplant to New York City. She spends most of her time reading and writing about romance, but you can follow her other adventures on Twitter @JennProffitt. She works for Heroes and Heartbreakers and Criminal Element.