Benedict Cumberbatch, star of Sherlock and Doctor Strange, is now receiving great acclaim for his new Showtime series, Patrick Melrose, where he plays a British scion who is desperately struggling with addiction.
Cumberbatch told Variety that the show is his “passion project,” and that it’s “a hell of a role, a hell of a stretch for any actor, and a hell of an opportunity for me…” He would also tell the New York Daily News that playing an addict was “exhausting. Although, to put it in perspective, not as exhausting as actually living that life.”
In playing someone suffering from addiction, Cumberbatch added, “You don’t learn how to act like a drunk by being drunk. You do it by figuring how to portray the potential psychological and physical effects. In this case, you also need to remember that isn’t just a story about addiction. It’s about whether we are ultimately capable of changing.”
Cumberbatch is apparently very convincing in this role, because he told the Daily Mail that he’ll have “the odd blow-out” from time to time, “a big birthday, or a crazy weekend at a festival – but I prefer yoga and meditation…I remember when I saw Trainspotting I’d never taken any drugs, and people said it was glamorizing them. I thought, What is glamorous about this? Do I want to wake up having nightmares in my parents’ bedroom, with babies crawling on the ceiling? Nothing about this would induce me to do drugs. The consequences are fairly clearly laid out.”
In a five star review of the show, The Guardian calls Patrick Melrose “a brilliant portrayal of addiction,” and Deadline feels Cumberbatch’s “tour de force” performance could earn him an Emmy.